(Reuters) – Barcelona have agreed to sell a 10% stake in their LaLiga TV rights for the next 25 years to US private equity group Sixth Street for 207.5 million euros ($215.84 million) as they look to improve their financial situation, the club announced on Thursday.
“We are activating economic levers and executing on our patient, sustainable, and efficient strategy to strengthen the club’s financial footing,” Barcelona president Joan Laporta said in a statement.
The US investment firm already has ties to Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid, after reaching a 360 million euros deal in May to develop and operate new businesses at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium for 20 years.
“Our team looks forward to a long-term partnership providing our flexible capital and deep sports sector expertise to support Barca as it continues to strengthen its organization and achieve its strategic objectives,” Alan Waxman, Co-Founder and CEO of Sixth Street, said.
Earlier this month, Barcelona approved the sale of a minority share of their licensing and merchandising division and the cession of up to 25% of their income from their LaLiga TV rights.
Laporta, who presided over one of Barca’s most successful periods between 2003 and 2010, was elected last year for a second stint with the Catalan giants after the previous board resigned due to the club’s worsening finances and other controversies.
He inherited a deep financial crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and, restricted by LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, Barca were unable to re-sign club great Lionel Messi who left as a free agent for Paris St Germain last summer.
Laporta said in August the club’s debts totalled 1.35 billion euros, 673 million of which was owed to banks.
Barca in December approved financial plans to renovate their famous Camp Nou stadium, including raising an additional 1.5 billion euros in debt.
In March, the club signed a shirt and stadium sponsorship deal with audio streaming platform Spotify (SPOT.N) in an agreement worth 280 million euros.
($1 = 0.9614 euros)
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Toby Davis)