Against the clock, as with the signing of the guarantees that made possible the proclamation of Joan Laporta as President of FC Barcelona in March 2021, this Thursday, June 30, the Barça club can close the 2021-2022 financial year with benefits and not with a negative balance estimated at 161 million. The move from negative to positive will be possible thanks to the agreement that Barça signs with the investment fund Sixth Street, for which it will receive more than 200 million euros for the sale of 10% of the television rights for 25 years. Sources from the Barça entity itself confirmed the news brought forward by Cuatro, assuring that the contract will be signed first and presented at the Camp Nou in the next few hours.
While we wait to hear the terms of the operation, what is known from the last meeting is that the investment fund will receive 10% of the league’s retransmission payments – around 16 million a year – a circumstance that forces the club to Limit the benefit from a certain percentage of the revaluation, according to Economic Vice President Eduard Romeu. Approved by the commissioners, Barça still has to sell 15% more of the television rights – the maximum is 25% -, a maximum of 49% of the company that sells its products called BLM and Barça Studios. Negotiations on such assets have not borne fruit for the time being and the priority was to attack a budget that provided for a profit of five million.
Revenues were lower than expected and it was not possible to contain expenses as required by the critical situation, to the extent that Barça were on course to end their third consecutive year in losses after the academic year 2019-2020 -97 million were registered and -481 million in 2020-2021. In any case, at the suggestion of Laporta, the general meeting has already agreed to suspend the article according to which the board of directors had to resign if it accumulated two consecutive years with a negative balance. The wage bill hasn’t been corrected as expected either – Romeu indicated it needs to be cut by 160m to bring it on par with Madrid’s: 400m – and the debt is estimated at 1,350m.
“It’s a purely financial operation, as if it were a mortgage; we were in favor of looking for strategic partners who would help grow other assets; it will not improve that of television rights. It doesn’t make me happy to know that we were right,” argued Víctor Font, candidate for the presidential elections that Laporta won. “That’s usually what happens when you jump into a club with no plan to run it,” he added. Font, who accused the president of “improvisation”, seemed to demand that the legislative reform envisaged by the board should be democratic and, above all, protect the Barça club from the risk of becoming a sports company. Font’s proposals have already been sent to Vice President Elena Fort.
The president is to explain the agreement with Sixth Street, the investment fund that signed an agreement with Real Madrid back in May. The club, chaired by Florentino Pérez, will enter around 360 million in exchange for 30% of the exploitation of part of Benabéu’s commercial business for 20 years. The investment fund also has Spotify as a client, which will be the sponsor of Barcelona from July 1, and is linked to Audax, the renewable energy company of which Romeu, vice president of Barcelona, is vice president. Barça’s board has opted for Sixth Street after ruling out alternatives such as CVC – it negotiated an agreement outside of the agreement with the league – and Goldman Sachs, Barça’s main creditor.
Some of Sixth Street’s current leaders were previously part of Goldman Sachs, the investment group that will fund the Espai Barça – the assembly that requested a $1,500 million loan – and the same one that has already secured another $525 million loan Millions in return over 15 years and in exchange for a percentage of the TV rights so the club could avoid closure in 2021. “We need 600 million,” Laporta specified at the last meeting; So far he has about 200.