In what is a generally positive sign from the DFL, a Swedish investment firm has been thrown out of the running for submitting a proposal that crosses one of the DFL’s “red lines”. Two firms are still bidding for the deal.
German journalist Benni Hofmann of Germany’s preeminent footballing publication reports that one of the three candidates earmarked for the investor slot has been expelled from the running after the submitted proposal was deemed to endanger Germany’s fan-ownership model. Swedish global investment fun EQT – according to Hofmann – sought renegotiation rights in the event that media rights did not yield the proper dividends. The DFL has apparently stuck to its guns and rejected this attempt to stronghold the organization.
Hofmann writes that EQT has been expelled from the running despite the fact that their overall stakeholder bid totaled as much as €50 million more than competitors CVC and Blackstone. There may be a test of integrity left for the DFL as Blackstone, Inc (an American private equity firm) may present a conflict of interest. David Blitzer – one of the firm’s partners – already as a hand in German football as part of the U.S.-based Boldt Football Holdings; a firm known to supply funding to FC Augsburg.
Blackstone and European capital firm CVC now enter the final round of negotiations following EQT’s expulsion. Hofmann cites the trade journal “Manager Magazin” to claim that Blackstone may have upped their bid to a total closer to that of EQT. It appears as if, whichever strategic partner is ultimately chose, the DFL is about to close a €1-billion-deal.