The Barcelona board of directors has approved the club selling minority shares of their licensing and merchandising division and the cession of up to 25% of income from their La Liga TV rights as they try to improve the club’s dire financial situation.
The board is hoping that such measures will enable them to finish the financial year without losses and allow an increase in their spending limit on the transfer market.
Club’s president Joan Laporta said they expect to sell up to 49.9% of retail operation Barcelona Licensing and Merchandising (BLM) for 200-300 million euros and a minimum of 200 million each for 10% of the La Liga TV rights for 25 years.
The plan to sell BLM received 89.3% backing from 636 participants (only 14.2% of the club’s total delegates) in the referendum while the TV rights deal got 86.8% support.
“When we arrived last year, we found ourselves in a very complicated financial situation. We couldn’t afford the payroll of May 2021. Investors were demanding 200 million euros that we did not have,” Laporta told the assembly.
“We believe that using club’s assets to create financial levers is the best way to bring back Barca to being competitive again.”
Laporta also said that Barcelona had opted out of the 1.994 billion euro investment from CVC Capital Partners with La Liga in exchange for 11% of the TV rights over the next 50 years because of the length of the deal did not correlate with the money.
“We want to recover this asset in 25 years. The (CVC) operation that was presented was collective and Barca have their own special value,” he said.
“I’m all in favor of helping out but at this moment we have to tidy our house first.”
Laporta, who presided over Barca’s most successful periods between 2003 and 2010, was elected last year for a second stint after the previous board left the club in financial ruin.
He inherited a deep financial crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and, restricted by La Liga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules resulting in their greatest player, Lionel Messi, leaving for Paris last summer.
Laporta had announced in August that the club’s debts totaled 1.35 billion euros, 673 million of which is owed to banks.
To ease such a financial crunch Barcelona along with selling minority shares is also signing deals with sponsors worldwide.