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Spain’s La Liga to sell $3.2 billion stake to CVC

Spain’s top football league announced Wednesday it has agreed in principle to sell 10 percent of its business to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners for 2.7 billion euros ($3.2 billion) to help finance long-term growth.

The deal, the first of its type by a major European league, values La Liga at 24.2 billion euros and is due to be ratified by the La Liga and CVC boards later Wednesday, a statement said.

It comes as Spanish clubs, like many across Europe, grapple with a huge drop in revenues as the pandemic forces matches to be played in empty stadiums.

“It is an ambitious investment plan which will give La Liga and its clubs the resources to continue the transformation into a global digital entertainment company, strengthen the competition and transform the experience for fans,” the league statement said.

“The operation will be carried out through the creation of a new company to which La Liga will transfer all its businesses, subsidiaries and joint ventures and in which CVC will hold a minority participation of 10 percent.”

Around 90 percent of the funds which CVC will invest will be channelled directly to La Liga’s clubs, including lower tier ones.

That will give Spanish clubs more room to sign new players. La Liga in 2013 introduced so-called financial “fair play” regulations setting a maximum amount of money each club can spend on players and coaching staff each season, conditioned by income.

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The move follows the collapse four months ago of plans by 12 leading football teams — including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid  to create a European Super League.

The firm, which manages about $87 billion of assets, has invested in Formula One auto racing and has weighed buying into the Six Nations international rugby union organisation.

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