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Private Investment Reshaping Top European Football Clubs

Recent analysis done by PitchBook shows that 36% of top-flight clubs in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have private capital ownership in some form. These investors include private equity and venture capital funds as well as consortiums of high-net-worth investors.

One of the most notable developments is the sector is the potential sale of Manchester United, which has been on the market for nearly a year. However, a valuation gap persists, with the Glazer family reportedly seeking close to £6 billion – a 56% premium over its current enterprise value. Furthermore, the £6bn price tag equates to an Enterprise Value / Revenue (EV/Revenue) multiple of 10x, standing in contrast to Forbes' research which found that the top 20 most valuable teams had an average EV/Revenue multiple of 5.9x.

Several factors may contribute to this valuation discrepancy. Notably, the anticipation of heightened football broadcasting rights, particularly with the upcoming World Cup in North America, presents the prospect of tapping into the American market further.

Whatever the underlying reasons, the trend of rising private capital investment shows no signs of slowing down. In 2022, deal-making in the sector soared, with the total deal value increasing from €66.7 million in 2018 to an impressive €4.9 billion.

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