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SBD Global/February 3, 2014/Franchises

Private Equity Firm KKR Invests More Than $82M In Bundesliga Side Hertha Berlin

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Private equity firm KKR agreed to invest €61.2M ($82.6M) in Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin and will take a 9.7% stake in the club as part of the deal, according to Alex Duff of BLOOMBERG. The Bundesliga team said on its website that the investment "will allow it to reduce its debt, cut costs and improve long-term planning." Hertha Managing Dir Michael Preetz said that the deal "provides a 'quantum leap' for the team’s finances." It was reported that Hertha "will use the funds from New York-based KKR to repay the bulk" of its €37M ($50M) of loans and buy back marketing, TV and catering rights. KKR Europe Head Johannes Huth said, "We look forward to the opportunity of supporting Hertha BSC as a long-term partner and believe in the significant potential of strengthening the club’s position both at home and abroad" (BLOOMBERG, 1/31). The BERLINER ZEITUNG wrote KKR "reportedly has the opportunity to increase its stake to 33%." The German Football League (DFL) "limits the stake a company can hold in a professional football club to less than 50%." KKR "will reportedly get a seat on Hertha's board." However, KKR "will not have any influence on economic and athletic decisions." Preetz: "We won't get crazy. We will stay the same club. We will stay to our philosophy and continue to count on our youth academy" (BZ, 1/31).
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