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Wanda-Infront join list of parties interested in Serie A stake

Wanda Sports Group and its agency Infront, are among seven groups who have been given permission to put forward potential investment offers for the Serie A, the highest division in Italian football.

The process is said to have moved forward at the latest assembly meeting held on Monday, according to reports from the Italian media. Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, claims that Wanda-Infront, alongside CVC Capital Partners Bain Capital, Advent International, General Atlantic, TPG Capital and Apollo Global Management will continue their talks this week to reach a potential deal for the league.

According to Bloomberg, Advent International has already put forward an undisclosed bid, which could value the league at €13 billion.

Infront’s existing partnership with the Lega may help to boost Wanda Sports Group’s chances of the partnership with the agency already holding a €6 billion minimum-guarantee agreement to work as an adviser on the domestic and international media-rights sales, a deal that has existed since 2008 but set to come to an end in 2021.

Serie A are reportedly looking to receive concrete offers from the organisations by July 24, where they will be voted on by clubs during a meeting at the end of the month.

Much has been said about the investment in Serie A for a number of weeks now with the league receiving proposals from private equity investors and appointing a financial consultancy from France to help in examining the bids.

Discussions during the meeting on Monday also saw the 20 clubs who participate in the Serie A opt against withholding the signal from Serie A, the pay-television broadcaster and rights-holder, after a continuing disagreement over the payment of rights fees. The meeting drew the conclusion that Sky would be forced to settle the outstanding fee but would be allowed to continue to broadcast matches.

On Twitter, Professor Simon Chadwick tweeted his surprise at the possible investment from the Chinese based organisation.

“If true, this would be a remarkable turnaround for Wanda,” he started. “(They were) early movers back in 2015, then (the) company invested in Atletico Madrid.”

“Rumours have endured that Wanda's owner not positively viewed by government in Beijing. If political consent has been given by central government for Wanda to make a move on Serie A investment, it suggests owner Wang could be back in favour and that Italy is an important part of China's expansion westwards.”

Author: Jake Wilkin