It has taken months of negotiations and years of searching, but the British fund CVC has finally found a world-class investment in the sports industry into which it can inject its money … and influence. The agreement with LaLiga to invest 2,700 million euros for 11% of the business, which must be approved next week by the teams, is the largest investment that the fund allocates to a sports asset in its history. Bigger words in a fund that held Formula 1 ownership for a decade.
Precisely, since the sale of the Great Circus to Liberty Media in 2017, CVC was lame within the first-line sport, which has exponentially multiplied the generation of income thanks to audiovisual rights.
At the time of that transaction, CVC owned around 35% of Formula 1, of which it had more than 62%. Only with the share packages that it sold as a result of the failed operation to take the competition to the stock market, and with the dividends obtained since its entry in 2006, when it invested close to 2,000 million, the millions earned by the fund are calculated at more than 4,000 .
To this must be added what was received from the sale to Liberty. The agreement valued 100% of Formula 1 at 8,000 million, three times less than the valuation that has been made of LaLiga, but of that amount almost half corresponded to debt. CVC had 35% of the shares but most of the voting rights were in its possession, which allowed it to get a good return on an investment that, in 2006, seemed risky.
Rugby and volleyball
Since then, CVC has made minor investments in the world of sports. In 2019, together with the Jordan Company fund, it invested 500 million in Bruin Sports, a fund focused on acquisitions in the sports industry.
But above all he has focused on the world of rugby: in 2020 he bought a 27% stake in the English league for 235 million euros; this year 14% of the Six Nations tournament for 430; and 28% of the Pro14 tournament for 140 million. To these must be added its agreement with the International Volleyball Federation to inject 350 million euros. In all these latter cases, the interest is the same that has led CVC to LaLiga: to participate in the income generated by audiovisual rights
All these agreements, added to the one announced on Wednesday with the Spanish football association, represent a total investment of more than 4,300 million since the sale of Formula 1. Along the way, he became interested in motorcycles again when trying to take over Dorna, the The company that manages the MotoGP World Championship and which it owned between 1998 and 2006. Then, the European competition authorities forced the fund to sell it when it entered Formula 1.
His recent interest in entering the capital of the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA has also transcended, taking 15% and with a valuation of the franchise of 1,300 million dollars. There, the audiovisual rights were revalued 200% in the last contract, of 24,000 million dollars for nine seasons. The goal of the competition is to triple that number for the next deal.
Another competition in which he has taken an interest is tennis. CVC proposes to merge the men’s and women’s circuits, ATP and WTA, in a company valued at 4,000 million dollars and of which it would take 15% for 600. It remains to be seen if the operation with LaLiga will satisfy its hunger for sport.
And to all this we must add the presence of CVC in betting houses. It currently has 100% of the Italian Sisal, and a majority position in the German Tipico. Previously, it also invested in the British Sky Bet.