Portuguese soccer giants Benfica are set to raise €99.27 million (US$112.7 million) from the sale of their stadium and in-house television channel to two club directors.
The Primeira Liga outfit have called a shareholders meeting for 15th March when they will decide whether to proceed with selling the businesses controlling the 65,000-seater Estádio da Luz and cable and satellite channel Benfica TV, which shows live coverage of the team’s home matches.
The move would see both the stadium and Benfica TV handed over to Sport Lisboa e Benfica, SGPS, the investment vehicle through which club president Luis Filipe Ferreira Vieira and council member Nuno Ricardo Gaioso control 23.65 per cent of the Lisbon-based team.
Should the proposal be given the green light, the sales will become effective from 1st July. The payments will be deferred for 25 years, with interest accruing, although the buyers have the option to make advance payments.
Benfica moved to defend the proposed sales in an official statement, saying: ‘It is within the range of fair value of the respective participations, according to the independent evaluations obtained, and that approximates the book values.’
The club claim that offloading their stadium and TV businesses will enable them to focus on achieving more success both domestically and in Uefa club tournaments such as the Champions League.
‘With the realisation of this operation, the company will no longer carry out the activities of management of sports venues and the management of a communication channel that was being developed indirectly, thus dedicating itself exclusively to the sporting activity of professional football, which is the reason for its existence, and to contribute all its economic and human resources to this activity, in order to achieve better and better sports results at national level and in European competitions,’ Benfica’s statement concluded.
On the pitch, Benfica sit second in the Primeira Liga, but could go top of the table on Saturday when they travel to play league-leaders Porto.