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JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch to finance Bernabéu revamp – report

US financial services giants Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan Chase have been chosen by Real Madrid to lead the financing of its redevelopment of Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, according to El Confidencial.

The Spanish newspaper, citing market sources, said the two institutions have agreed to provide a loan of €575m (£506.6m/$648.4m) to the LaLiga football club, with Spanish banks such as Santander and CaixaBank to also be involved, albeit at less exposure.

El Confidencial said JP Morgan was previously believed to be the leading contender to provide the financing for the project, with the contract deemed so important to the company that its chief executive, Jamie Dimon, visited Real president Florentino Pérez last summer to express its interest.

The Bernabéu deal is seen as a low risk operation due to the financial guarantees that Real can provide through the likes of broadcast rights revenue. It is also said to be viewed as a prestige project for JP Morgan.

El Confidencial said Real is expected to pay off the loan over a period of 30 years, with a maximum interest rate of 2.5%. It added that JP Morgan could yet be a contender for a possible naming rights contract for the new-look Bernabéu.

The latest report comes after Real Madrid members in September gave the green light to a loan scheme for the redevelopment of the Bernabéu, as Pérez revealed further details of the plan to create the world’s finest stadium.

Real’s representative members gave their approval to the board of directors to take on debts as part of the remodelling costs of the Bernabéu. At the time, Pérez said that the club’s current financial strength meant that it is an ideal time to take out a €525m loan, as he detailed how the cost of the project has increased.

Real Madrid was granted full approval in the summer of 2017 to redevelop the 81,000-seat stadium, which at the time was expected to cost approximately €400m.