EuroLeague Basketball draws interest from BC Partners, EQT and General Atlantic - sources

Reuters · 07/01 10:13
EuroLeague Basketball draws interest from BC Partners, EQT and General Atlantic - sources

By Andres Gonzalez and Amy-Jo Crowley

- Europe's top men's basketball competition EuroLeague has drawn interest from private equity firms including EQT, BC Partners and General Atlantic, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Euroleague Commercial Assets (ECA), the entity which owns the EuroLeague and EuroCup, have been sounding out investor interest to buy a stake in the company, and is aiming for a valuation of one billion euros ($1.07 billion) in a potential sale, the two sources and a third one said.

Private equity firms including BC Partners, EQT EQTAB.ST and General Atlantic have expressed interest in buying a stake in recent weeks, according to two of the people.

One of the sources said the offers are for a minority stake and there are three other investors that have shown interest.

The deliberations are at an early stage and ECA may decide to proceed with any deal, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter is private.

EQT, BC and General Atlantic declined to comment.

The European basketball competitions are the latest in a growing of sports looking for investment as a way to raise money.

Sports are drawing investors as they see opportunities in growing media rights and marketing.

Advisory firm Liontree has been lined up for the sale and asked interested parties to submit preliminary indications of interest a month ago, one of the people said.

Liontree declined to comment.

The private equity firms are awaiting feedback from the clubs involved in EuroLeague and talks will only progress if the clubs decide to move ahead with a sale, this person added.

The Assembly of Syndicated Shareholders of Euroleague Commercial Assets -- which is formed by 13 clubs including Real Madrid and FC Barcelona -- met in June in Barcelona to approve, among other things, rules to expand the financial sustainability of the competition.

Real Madrid and Barcelona declined to comment.

($1 = 0.9353 euros)


(Reporting by Andres Gonzalez and Amy-Jo Crowley, adittional reporting by Belen Carreno, editing by Anousha Sakoui and Ed Osmond)

((andres.gonzalez@thomsonreuters.com; +44 (0) 7551 790019; Reuters Messaging: andres.gonzalez.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.))