LONDON — British pay TV company BSkyB is in talks to buy a 9.9 percent stake in Chelsea Village, owners of the premiere Chelsea soccer team, part of a new drive to bolster an investment portfolio containing leading British soccer teams, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
In addition, the paper added that BSkyB is expected to confirm this week that it is buying a 9.9 percent stake in Leeds Sporting, the owners of the Leeds United team, for an estimated $12.05 million.
At the same time, the group will pledge to reduce its 11.6% stake in Manchester United, a legacy of last year’s failed BSkyB bid for the club, to 9.9 percent to comply with Football Association guidelines.
A BSkyB spokesman declined to comment on the speculation linking BSkyB to the soccer teams. BSkyB is 40%-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Last month, British TV and leisure company Granada Group agreed to buy a 9.9 percent stake in the Liverpool team for $35 million, prompting speculation of further similar deals between TV groups and soccer teams.
The paper said BSkyB’s chief executive, Tony Ball, is in negotiations with Chelsea Village’s chairman Ken Bates to buy the Chelsea 9.9 percent stake, estimated at $24 million.
BSkyB’s latest investment campaign is a move by the group to ensure it has pole position in any negotiations over future TV broadcasting rights. In particular, it wants to secure pay-per-view rights for teams in which it invests, the paper added.