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Soccer-Bain and CVC revise Serie A bids as clubs delay decision - sources

LONDON/FRANKFURT/MILAN, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Two private equity groups have revised their final bids to Italy’s top-flight soccer league as they vie to secure a slice of Serie A’s lucrative broadcasting rights business for the next 10 seasons, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The two offers will be reviewed by Serie A club presidents on Oct. 13, after an initial Oct. 9 deadline was postponed on Tuesday, the sources said.

The delay comes as Serie A President Paolo del Pino - who strongly supported a plan to monetise the league’s broadcasting rights and shore up the clubs’ finances - tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Serie A declined to comment on the offers.

A consortium led by Bain Capital has ditched a previous equity investment plan and replaced it with a partnership proposal, the sources said.

A rival bidding group led by CVC Capital Partners is sticking with an initial plan to buy 10% of Serie A’s media rights company but has presented two alternative offers to win over some of the most reluctant clubs, the sources said.

Under Bain’s proposal, the U.S. buyout fund will make an upfront payment of 450 million euros ($528.62 million) to Serie A clubs and will then take 10% of their annual broadcasting rights revenues for the next 10 years, provided that such revenues exceed a minimum threshold, one of the sources said.

“Despite their official line most clubs are reluctant to strike an equity deal,” the source added.

Bain is also in talks to finalise a separate commercial agreement with Spanish media rights agency Mediapro, which could add industry expertise to navigate the complexity of the Serie A transaction, he said.

CVC - which has teamed up with U.S. private equity firm Advent and state-backed fund FSI - has offered to either buy a 10% stake in Serie A’s media rights firm for about 1.6 billion euros or make an upfront payment of 500 million euros and reduce the stake value to about 1.35 billion, two other sources said.

Access to the 500 million euros payment is however conditional on broadcasting rights sales falling under a certain threshold, they said.

Serie A representatives were expected to select their preferred bidder this month but a final decision on any deal with private equity funds may take weeks to materialise, the sources warned.

Serie A clubs are currently facing disruption due to the spread of COVID-19 amongst their players.

$1 = 0.8513 euros Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia and Clara Denina in London, Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt and Elvira Pollina in Milan; Editing by Ken Ferris

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