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an act of faith to save Barça

BarcelonaSince Joan Laporta returned to the presidency of Barça in March 2021, the club has convened four assemblies of delegates. Two ordinary, to approve accounts and budgets, and two extraordinary, one for Spotify and the other, this Thursday, to sell part of the rights to television and BLM. Fifteen days after the end of the season, the club’s accounts are still in the red and the president needs to “activate the economic levers” in order to close the balance sheet and also be able to sign players in this summer market. But to what extent does Barça need to sell assets? Is it a lesser evil or the only possible way?

The management team says there is no better alternative. “The situation is unsustainable, it is necessary to do so,” said economic vice president Eduard Romeu in several interviews. From the box they say they already have proposals on the table and add that they are very good for the club. But they do not give further details. “We ask them to trust us,” Romeu reiterated. The delegates, in a telematic assembly – such as Spotify – will have to decide two things. First, if they agree to sell up to 25% of the television rights without knowing for how many years or for what price. And second, if they agree to sell a maximum of 49.9% of BLM – the company that manages the merchandising – without detailing the value of this company or whether there will be an option to repurchase in the future.

“I don’t plan to vote. This is a toast to the sun. We don’t know the fine print, or the conditions, or the price, or anything. He will win, because he always wins, but in the end there will be 600 people deciding without any financial knowledge. nor economic.It is a harlotada“, says Jaume Llopis, member 978 and former member of the commission of the Espai Barça de Laporta. Llopis, who resigned from his post following the departure of Leo Messi, has been very critical of the management of the current He, like all the experts consulted —Lopis is an economist and professor of strategy at IESE— admits that “something needs to be done” and does not rule out that the formula chosen by the “If the partners vote blind, it could happen that Florentino Pérez – president of Real Madrid – will be one of our investors through one of his companies …”.

“When there is blood, the sharks smell it. Everyone knows the situation of Barça and this has an impact on the negotiations. The conditions will not be the same as if the club were healthy,” said economist Albert Deulofeu. Television rights and BLM – to which must be added Barça Studios, whose sale had already been approved at the October assembly – will be a resource that Barça will use “as companies in an emergency do: to sell assets and anticipate future wealth. “

“Almost all the problems come from the inheritance received, but it is also true that this year the budget has not been met. If you can not get more income and you have emergencies, you can not borrow more, but you have to sell heritage “, analyzes Marc Ciria. However, this financial expert, who had accompanied Laporta to the 2015 candidacy, is wary of the lack of information that the delegates will have before voting. “They ask for permission to sell without telling who or how much. No one goes to the notary to sell the house without knowing who is selling it, how much they will pay or when.” From the club, however, they argue that if they closed a deal first and then submitted it to the assembly, they would waste a lot of time and remember that they are going against the clock.

With the sale of television rights and companies, Barça will earn a lot of money in one fell swoop. However, this will mean that in the future you will stop earning a good handful of millions every season. Basically because you’ve already received them. According to Ciria, it can reach 100 million a year by adding up all the concepts. “These operations must be done, but they cannot be the only ones. It is necessary to balance the wage bill with their income, which is now decompensated,” Deulofeu replies. “The conclusion of all this is that Barça will end up being less valuable, they will have less value”, concludes Llopis.

There is a consensus that the CVC operation was not good for Barça

On television rights, there is some consensus that the agreement with CVC, LaLiga Impulso, was not a good deal for Barça. “50 years is a long time, for a deal. It’s a sale in fact. If Barça can end up getting the same amount (270) but with half a year to go, then CVC and the League will be in the spotlight, “said Deulofeu. In any case, the money the club now earns will always be lower – if the market continues with the current growing momentum – which it could receive if it sold its television rights when it played, year after year. The premise, beyond the price, is the duration. “The fewer years, the better, because it will mean 100% of the rights before. “For Ciria, saying no to CVC” is right, but it can’t be good news with another company either, because you’re advancing revenue at a very high cost. “” This board will benefit from the income and who will pay the consequences will be the directive that comes next “, warns Llopis.

In the case of BLM, Ciria considers that it is the sale of a “strategic asset” and agrees “as long as it is done with a top company that grows the business.” In turn, Deulofeu regrets “losing part of the ownership of the business” and would prefer a clause that would allow Barça to regain it in the future. Of course, he warns that the price will not be the same. “If what we imagine will happen happens and the value increases, when Barça want to get it back it will not be for the same as what it has received, but for the money it is worth at that moment.”

The delegates have the last word. At the box office, they say they will win, and the contracts are being finalized so that, as Laporta said, the patient can move from the ICU to the floor. They have until June 30 to save the accounts, and until July 31 to calculate the fair play finance.

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