Barcelona brings in new financial partner for Espai Barça

Spanish LaLiga football club Barcelona has reportedly engaged financial services company JB Capital Markets to secure investment for its Espai Barça development plan.

Spanish newspaper El Confidencial said the appointment has been confirmed by official sources, with JB Capital to join Goldman Sachs as an advisor to structure the financing of the redevelopment of the Camp Nou and the construction of the new Palau Blaugrana arena.

Founded in 2008 by Javier Botín, chairman and brother of the executive chairman of Banco Santander, Ana Botín, JB Capital has a worldwide client base of more than 400 institutional investors, manages distressed debt portfolios amounting to €4.9bn (£4.4bn/$5.5bn), and offers research coverage on more than 60 public Spanish companies.

El Confidencial said JB Capital has been hired in an effort to secure the financing that will allow the project to push forward. The club gave the green light to Espai Barça five years ago, but regulatory approval only came in mid-2018 meaning that the project is effectively said to be two years behind its initial schedule.

The €600m budget was initially set to be equally split between income from a naming rights deal for the Camp Nou, commercial income from the project and a bank loan. There has been much speculation regarding a naming rights partner, with the most recent solid information coming in January.

Barcelona was reportedly said to be seriously considering a complex offer from the Grifols family behind the pharmaceuticals company of the same name for the naming rights to the Camp Nou. However, this mooted agreement has not been progressed and JB Capital will reportedly explore other alternative financing models.

The major renovation of the Camp Nou is at the heart of Espai Barça, which also includes the development of the new Palau Blaugrana, the opening of Barça Campus and the 6,000-seat Estadi Johan Cruyff.

Initial work on the €360m Camp Nou renovation, which will see the stadium have a seating capacity of around 105,000 once finished, commenced in the summer of 2018.

Image: FC Barcelona