Spanish soccer giant Barcelona is negotiating an investment with Goldman Sachs to lower its debt and end its financial woes.
According to El Confidencial, a Spanish publication, the Catalan team is about to close a $1 billion deal with Goldman Sachs and All Sport Finance (ASF) in exchange for 30% of its broadcast revenues and a percentage of the future revenues from their new stadium complex, Espai Barça. Goldman Sachs did not respond to Sportico‘s request for comment for this article.
The reports come in the wake of the Spanish powerhouse’s refusal to participate in the Project Boost LaLiga, the $2.4 billion investment deal between LaLiga and CVC Capital Partners to enhance the global growth of LaLiga and its clubs. In return CVC will receive 8.2% of LaLiga’s broadcast revenues for the next 50 years. The first installment of the funds has been distributed among the clubs through the Boost LaLiga project, and will be used for “technology, innovation, internationalization, and sporting growth initiatives.”
Barcelona, together with Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, opted out of the league-wide deal because they did not want to share a percentage of its broadcast revenues.
Espai Barça is a $1.6 billion project to expand Barcelona’s landmark stadium, Camp Nou, from 99,354 to 105,000 seats and add multiple training facilities and entertainment options. The expansion project is approved by the club’s members and will start as early as this summer if the club can secure financing. Camp Nou is currently the biggest in Europe and the fourth biggest in the world in capacity.
Three years ago, the former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu signed a $96.5 million bridge loan with Goldman Sachs to start the renovation project. Back in 2019, the club agreed on an extension of the club’s bridge loan to $180 million. The club extended the term of this loan until August of 2021, and after Joan Laporta took over the presidency that same year, he was able to extend the term until February. The club has to pay back this loan by 2023.
The proposed deal will bring the total amount to $1.5 billion to be paid back in 35 years, with a five-year grace period to pay and interest fixed at 3%-4%. If Goldman Sachs approves the loan, this will be the largest investment in the club’s 122-year history.
The Catalan club is desperate for cash and is expected to make additional money by offloading several players on the team. If the deal goes through Barcelona would have enough money to keep its star players such as Frenkie de Jong and be in the hunt to sign Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.
Aside from the deal with Goldman Sachs, it has been reported that Laporta had secured $214 million through licensing merchandise with Fanatics, one of the largest sellers of sports merchandise. Fanatics did not comment for this article.
A Goldman Sachs investment does not prevent Barcelona from joining the CVC deal. If Barcelona decides to take part in LaLiga’s deal with CVC, its broadcast rights will be included in the current deal and the club will be eligible to receive $270 million from the Boost LaLiga project.