Germany's DFL presses on with deal for media rights

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's soccer governing body is pressing on with plans to sell parts of the Bundesliga media rights for the country's first and second leagues to private investors, the Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) said in a media release on Friday.

On Saturday, German daily paper Bild reported that a working group at DFL will recommend to the DFL supervisory board on Feb. 9 the sale of 15% of a newly created DFL subsidiary for this purpose for further consideration, citing Bundesliga sources.

Valuing the business at between 17 and 20 billion euros, the transaction could bring in 2.5-3 billion euros ($2.70-3.24 billion), Bild said.

The DFL release said that the four-strong group, including interim managers Axel Hellmann and Oliver Leki, had agreed on "key guidelines for the further development of German professional football and a possible strategic partnership at league level."

The agreement was based on intensive discussions to bring 36 clubs in the two leagues together on the issue, it said.

It stressed it was not about a sale of shares in the Bundesliga but a temporary minority interest in license revenue from the media rights.

A spokesperson for DFL, contacted on Saturday about the Bild report, said there was no new comment beyond the Friday night press release.

Delays to the process had resulted in the resignation of former chief executive Donata Hopfen last December.

The rights, according to the Bild report, would be granted for 25 to 30 years, with the 36 clubs retaining control.

Several private equity funds including CVC, Bain Capital, KKR, EQT, Advent, Blackstone and Bridgepoint came forward last year to express interest in the deal, in which DFL is advised by Nomura and Deutsche Bank.

($1 = 0.9265 euros)

(Reporting by Alexander Huebner, writing by Vera Eckert, editing by Ros Russell)

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