Barcelona plot US$1bn Barca Media SPAC and sell Barca Vision … – SportsPro Media

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Spanish soccer champions Barcelona plan to float their Barca Media content creation business arm on the Nasdaq stock exchange and other financial markets through a US$1 billion special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Confirming reports published last month, the LaLiga club has entered into a definitive agreement with Mountain & Co I Acquisition Corp to float the division, which controls its digital media assets, including video content, social media and esports.
The move aims to raise further funds for Barcelona through the US capital markets, as well as accelerate the club’s various activities in the digital and audiovisual sectors, and boost distribution of Barca Media’s content to new audiences.
SPACs are set up with the explicit goal of merging with another company within a certain timeframe. In normal circumstances, investors do not influence the specific takeover target, however in this instance the SPAC has a clearly defined acquisition in mind.
“Over the past few years, we have made considerable progress in the digital ecosystem turning our assets into a creative hub that boosts FC Barcelona’s brand to unique levels in the world,” said Barcelona president Joan Laporta.
“[The club’s] content strategy has proven to be a success and provides us with new ways to connect with our fans globally in addition to generate new revenue streams. This step we are taking now is a strategic move that provides us with new resources to continue growing at a time when the demand for digital sports content is clearly expanding reinforcing the path of digital transformation started in 2022.”
In a related development, Barca Media will merge with Barca Vision, the club’s digital business previously known as Barca Studios.
Barca Vision is the club’s initiative to integrate all digital content around Web 3.0 and blockchain, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse, which form part of the club’s Espai Barça project.
Ahead of the SPAC, Barcelona have sold a 29.5 per cent stake in Bridgeburg Invest, the holding company of Barca Vision, for €120 million (US$131 million) to German firm Libero Football Finance and private investors advised by Dutch investment company Nipa Capital.
The transaction hands Barcelona a welcome cash boost as they bid to comply with LaLiga financial regulations and reduce debts of €1.35 billion (US$1.48 billion).
The agreement also meant Barcelona were able to register new signings ahead of the 2023/24 LaLiga season, which kicked off last weekend and saw the team draw 0-0 with Getafe.
Announcing the deal, Barcelona said the shares sold to the new investors corresponded to ‘part of the participation being held by and Orpheus Media’, which acquired 24.5 per cent of Barca Vision for €100 million (US$109 million) respectively last summer. Both have reduced their stakes.
Discussions between the club and new partners for Barca Vision had reportedly begun in January, with existing partners agreeing to postpone payments for this year until the negotiations had wrapped up.
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