Energy-rich Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund failed to win its bid to acquire the media agency that controls the broadcasting rights to the world soccer body FIFA’s World Cup.
The fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), lost to London-based private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital, which agreed to pay $707m for Infront Sports & Media AG, the agency that controls the rights for seven national FAs including the German Football Federation and clubs such as Italy’s AC Milan and Germany’s Schalke O4.
Infront represents more than 120 sports rights holders who deliver 2,300 event days each year.
Infront is managed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s son, Philippe Blatter.
QIA, which earlier this year bought French Premier League club Paris Saint-Germain, was the last bidder alongside Bridgepoint after Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund dropped out of the buying race earlier this year.
QIA was believed to be primarily interested in the hosting rights for the World Cup to compliment Qatar’s successful bid late last year to host the tournament in 2022. Acquisition of Infront would have cemented Qatar’s efforts to expand its stake in sports broadcasting.
The Gulf state’s global news channel Al Jazeera won the rights to broadcast French football from 2012 through to 2016 in June, but has yet to secure a mainstream European platform for to execute its rights, which also extend to the UEFA Champions League.