A report on Tuesday said that RCS Mediagroup is trying to find a buyer for its sports group to minimise its €440m (£312m) debt and could make a decision as early as Thursday.
RCS Sport stands second in the race organisation business behind ASO, which counts the Tour de France, Paris-Nice and Paris-Roubaix in its portfolio. RCS Sport has 10 races, including the Giro d’Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo; it also organises basketball games and marathons.
According to the article that appeared on the front page of Tuesday’s newspaper, RCS Mediagroup has been trying for months to ally with potential buyers or groups. What is new, however, is that they may free themselves of RCS Sport and Unidad Editorial, the Spanish media group that publishes newspaper Marca and other titles, to limit its debt with banks.
Instead, RCS Mediagroup would focus its attention on Corriere della Sera, Italy’s longest running newspaper, and leading sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.
When contacted by Cycling Weekly, RCS Sport general manager Paolo Bellino rejected the claims that the company would be sold.
“I can’t comment on it,” he said. “The news isn’t true, I don’t know anything about it.”
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It is unclear if RCS Mediagroup has buyers available or not. A decision could come soon as the board members are due to meet tomorrow at its Milan headquarters.
RCS Sport could fetch a reported €80m, with the company reportedly turning over €45m and losing €782,000 (£32m and £555,000) in 2014.
ASO reportedly inquired about buying RCS Sport two years ago, a suggestion Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme laughed off. If so, it would make the biggest organiser bigger. ASO counts around 19 races, including the Tour de France and Vuelta a España.
It has not been the best of times for Italy and RCS. Italy is still struggling to overcome the Eurozone Crisis, which the Mediagroup’s situation reflects, and RCS Sport is still coming to grips with an internal scandal that saw £9.2m go missing and sports manager Michele Acquarone fired.