Three people familiar with the situation said that JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) wrote to Italy’s premier soccer league to indicate a preliminary interest in assisting the growth of Serie A’s media business. The U.S. bank’s interest is on par with that of a number of investment funds that have contacted Serie A as the league gets ready to organize a tender to sell its domestic and international television rights for the seasons following 2024.
According to one of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversations are private, JPMorgan is anticipated to be able to offer bank financing worth between $761 million and $1 billion. The individual claimed that the rights would serve as the security for JPMorgan’s financing. Both Serie A and JPMorgan declined to comment.
Approximately half of Serie A clubs‘ revenue comes from their media rights, thus the league has been exploring ways to increase that revenue. Serie A, like other European soccer leagues, earns less than England’s Premier League and is seeking strategies to resurrect its international appeal. Back in 2021, JPMorgan had promised to help soccer clubs that wanted to start a separate European Super League, but the proposal failed to owe to a backlash from supporters and lawmakers.
Serie A teams have been debating the formation of a media unit as a means of increasing revenue, a move that might open the door for outside investors to acquire a portion of this important industry.
Interest of Apollo
Following the failure of earlier attempts by investment funds to strike an agreement with Serie A over its media business, New York-based Searchlight Capital and a group of funds managed by Carlyle Group Inc. announced a preliminary interest in purchasing Serie A’s broadcasting rights in late 2022.
The sources claimed that, without offering further information, Serie A clubs learned on Thursday that Apollo Global Management (APO.N) had also stepped forward. Apollo opted out of commenting.
The clubs will meet on February 24 to consider how to respond to JPMorgan and the funds’ advances, and they may decide to engage a financial adviser, according to the sources. Clubs are scheduled to debate the sale of the media rights, which is anticipated to begin later this year, in mid-February, in advance of that meeting. The requirement that a qualified majority of the clubs’ representatives approve any action has historically made working with potential investors difficult.
Italian soccer has been rocked by the troubles of Juventus FC (JUVE.MI), the league’s most successful club, which is being investigated by prosecutors for its financial affairs and was deducted 15 points by soccer authorities in Italy last week. Juventus disputes all accusations.