Spanish football club Barcelona sold 25 percent of Barca Studios, which manages the club’s digital business and audiovisual productions, to Socios.com for $102.5 million dollars (100 million euros), club’s president Joan Laporta has said.
Club members had voted to allow the sale of 49 percent of the shares.
“For the moment, we have sold 25 percent to Socios.com,” Laporta said at the press conference on Monday to present Jules Kounde, bought for a reported $51.2 million (50 million euros) from Sevilla, as a Barcelona player.
Earlier this summer, the deeply indebted club sold 15 percent of its La Liga TV revenue to the American investment fund Sixth Street in two tranches or a total of 400m euros before going on a transfer spree.
In addition to Kounde, Barcelona have bought Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich and Raphinha from Leeds and signed AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie and Chelsea’s Danish central defender Andreas Christensen on free transfers.
Drive to raise money
While the deals with Sixth Street are for 25 years, the sale to the Socios.com platform is permanent.
“It’s a sale for ever,” Laporta said. “There would be a way to recover this 25 percent but for the moment this operation means the entry of a new partner, Socios.com, which has injected 100 million euros,” he said.
Socios.com is a platform that allows clubs to increase their interaction with fans and try to make more money from it, including the use of Fan Tokens, a kind of digital asset based on blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
In its drive to raise money quickly, Barcelona has taken a $611 million (595 million euro) loan from investment bank Goldman Sachs and signed a sponsorship deal worth an estimated $446 million (435 million euros) with streaming service Spotify.
In August 2021, Laporta announced that an audit of the club’s finances showed Barca faced an estimated debt of $1.39 billion (1.35 billion euros).
They allowed Lionel Messi to leave for Paris Saint-Germain in 2021 because they could not afford to keep the Argentine star, even on a reduced salary.