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Volume 6 No. 212


Lionel Messi and his father "are close to an agreement" with Spanish tax authorities on a €15M ($19.5M) payment to avoid charges of tax evasion related to Messi's image rights income from '07-09, for which he has been accused of defrauding €4M. The €15M payment "follows a payment Messi made last week" of €10M ($13M) (EL MUNDO, 6/27). MUNDO DEPORTIVO reported that Messi's lawyers and advisers "have not commented about the information regarding his possible agreement with Spain's tax authorities." Messi's legal representatives said, "The media that has published this information has not been in contact with us to verify it. We cannot confirm this information" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 6/27).

Shares in a digital sports media group backed by Len Blavatnik slumped by as much as 15% after warning that its "juggernaut-style profits growth will slow this year," according to Tim Webb of the LONDON TIMES. Perform Group, owner of -- the world’s largest football website -- said that a higher proportion of revenues "would be generated by less profitable advertising and sponsorship deals this year." The company covers more than 15,000 live events, owning digital rights to the world’s top tournaments like the U.S. Open, Italy's Serie A and the NBA. It "either sells the content to media or betting companies, which brings in the highest profits." Perform also "provides the content for free but carrying advertising or on a sponsorship basis." This type of business "is growing quickly," accounting for 14% in '11, but this year will rise to 25% on a like-for-like basis (LONDON TIMES, 6/27).

Sports Direct "is set to sign up for a huge new store on Oxford Street in the heart of Central London, marking one of the boldest moves yet by Mike Ashley’s discount sportswear chain," according to Marcus Leroux of the LONDON TIMES. The company "is in talks to move into HMV’s Oxford Street flagship outlet." HMV, in turn, "is close to agreeing a deal that would take it back to its historic home on Oxford Street near Bond Street Underground station." Sports Direct "has a smaller outpost on Oxford Street, which it intends to keep, and also owns Lillywhites, the 150-year-old Piccadilly Circus sports store" (LONDON TIMES, 6/27).