Blackstone withdraws from Bundesliga investment talks

  • Blackstone reportedly concerned about talks dragging on amid fan backlash
  • CVC and Blackstone have recently bid €1bn for stake worth up to 8% in media rights business

The German Football League (DFL) has confirmed that Blackstone has ended talks over a potential investment in the Bundesliga’s media rights business.

Bloomberg had initially reported that the US private equity firm had withdrawn amid fears the intense fan backlash against a possible agreement would lead to a drawn-out process. 

The outlet also cited both structuring and economic factors around the deal as issues that Blackstone felt would make a transaction too difficult to execute.

‘We confirm that, following good discussions, Blackstone will no longer be considered as a strategic marketing partner of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 for various reasons,’ the league said in a statement.

‘The DFL and the clubs have always been aware that the key points and red lines adopted in December place high demands on potential partners.’

Blackstone’s exit leaves just one remaining bidder in CVC Capital Partners, with the DFL adding talks would continue exclusively with the private equity firm over a prospective investment.

Both Blackstone and CVC had recently offered around €1 billion (US$1.07 billion) for a stake of up to eight per cent in the DFL’s media rights subsidiary, according to Reuters.

Fan discontent has led to protests at numerous Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 games in recent weeks.

As well as expressing concerns about the presence of external investors, several fan groups have claimed the vote facilitating negotiations for an investment needs to be re-taken.

Last December, 24 of 36 teams in the country’s top-two divisions voted to commence talks, achieving the necessary majority. The voting stance of each outfit was not disclosed publicly.

But controversy has arisen around the vote of Hannover 96 chief executive Martin Kind, who is believed to have voted for the deal, despite his team opposing the transaction. Without his vote, there would not have been a voting majority and fans around Germany have called for a re-vote to take place.

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