FC Barcelona has secured a further investment worth more than €300mn from Sixth Street, as the Catalan club moves to generate funds for its summer transfer dealings.
The deal, set to be announced as soon as Friday, will give the US investment group an additional 15 per cent share in the club’s media rights over 25 years, according to people familiar with the matter.
The San Francisco-based fund had already agreed a similar deal worth more than €200mn for a 10 per cent share of the financially stricken football club’s rights just three weeks earlier.
Years of overspending and the impact of Covid-19 have left Barcelona facing a pile-up of short-term debts. Last summer the club was forced to part with Lionel Messi, its longtime star player, while others had to defer wages to help keep a lid on costs.
In a bid to repair the balance sheet, the club decided last month to sell 25 per cent of its media rights and up to 49 per cent of its merchandising and sponsorship business.
The Spanish league sets financial rules that can block clubs from registering new players if they are breached, pushing Barcelona to raise funds in order to conduct transfer business before the start of the season.
Despite the potential obstacles, the club has already been active in bringing in players. Polish striker Robert Lewandowski signed from Bayern Munich this week, while Brazilian forward Raphinha joined from Leeds United. More big names signings are expected.
The fee for Lewandowski, 33, could reach €50mn including add-ons. Following the move, Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann described Barcelona as “the only club in the world that has no money but can buy every player”.
As well as the media rights deals with Sixth Street, Barcelona has brought in cash through a partnership with Spotify, the music streaming service. The three-year deal covers shirt and stadium sponsorship, which Spanish media reported would generate €280mn for the club.
Barcelona and Real Madrid opted out of a 50-year deal struck by the rest of the Spanish league to sell a slice of its media rights to private group CVC, saying it offered poor value for money.
Sixth Street, which has more than $60bn in assets, has been increasingly active in sport during the pandemic. It recently struck a €360mn deal to partner with Real Madrid on its stadium renovation and owns a minority stake in San Antonio Spurs, the US basketball team.