Sir Leonard Blavatnik, the new czar of Serie A friend of Scaroni: who is the patron of Dazn group


Before becoming Sir Leonard, a British and American citizen, he was Soviet with the name and patronymic of Leonid Valentinovic. Today, at the age of 63, Len Blavatnik wants to be the new cashier of the Italian Serie A, an unsafe freak held up three years after three years with TV rights. with his Dazn group Blavatnik seems eager to be the main financier of the national football dream, surpassing Sky’s latest relaunch.
Former Soviet yes, never oligarch, Sir Leonard is ready to sue anyone who puts him in the heap of those who got rich with privatizations at the fall of the USSR. The best description of those wild times is by another London resident who loves football, Chelsea boss Roman Abramovic ?: «I was not convinced to go into business. Every three days they killed a businessman ».


Abramovic? everyone knows him. Blavatnik has nearly triple the assets ($ 31.7 billion and world number 22 according to Forbes) but is unknown to the general public. His interviews are rare cases. He recently declined interview requests from the Financial Times and Bloomberg Businessweek. He does not like someone to remind him of the past, when he was in a trio with two other Ukrainians destined to lead the way: Viktor Veksel’berg and Mikhail Fridman.


Its Italian representatives, Veronica Diquattro and Jacopo Tonoli, were obliged to maintain confidentiality until the agreement was closed. The moment is delicate and among the masters of the Serie A the choice of Dazn was fought, with the usual comings and goings of votes, of combined and messed up alliances, of pacts in smoke.

Among the supporters of Blavatnik weighed the opinion of the AC Milan president Paolo Scaroni who has already hosted the baronet at San Siro. With the Anglo-American magnate Scaroni he has in common, at different times, his studies at Columbia University in New York, the city where Leonid Valentinovic? he moved in 1978, at the age of 21, in full Brežnevian stagnation. Over twenty years later, in October 2011, the then CEO of Eni signed an agreement for the transport of cargo from the oil fields of the Urals. The counterparty is Tnk-Bp, a joint venture between the British oil giant and the AAR consortium. The three letters indicate Alfa group, Fridman’s holding company, Access industries of Blavatnik and Renova of Vekselberg. The Anglo-Russian company will experience troubled events, with violent clashes between the two partners, the flight from Moscow of the British CEO Bob Dudley, threatened by unknown persons, and the arrival on the board of the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, president from January 2009 to May 2012.


In March 2013, President Vladimir Putin brings everyone to an agreement and announces the sale of TNK-BP to Rosneft, the public oil giant that restatalizes the company with a check for $ 55 billion. The trio of friends from Ukraine collects half that is due to them (27.5 billion) for an investment paid 800 million in 1997. A few months earlier (June 2012) Scaroni had signed a $ 100 billion partnership with Rosneft to exploit the oil assets of the south (Black Sea) and the north (Barents Sea).
In 2012-2013 Blavatnik is no longer on the board of TNK-BP but remains a great friend of Lord John Browne who, like his counterpart Scaroni, counts more than a minister as the head of BP. At that moment, Leonid-Leonard is the poorest of the three in the Aar consortium. In less than ten years he manages to surpass his former partners with an extraordinary acquisition campaign. He buys Warner’s music division, which doesn’t want to hear about an industry deemed dead. But in the package there is Spotify, the company from which Sir Leonard will hire a young Bolognese who made her bones in Peru, Veronica Diquattro, born in 1983. While Warner music turns into a success story, she will take the reins of Dazn three years ago, at the time of signing the agreement with Sky for the live streaming of three Serie A matches. While Diquattro, which last October was co-opted in the board of the Sole 24 ore, is in charge of the brand, Tonoli follows the rights. The 43-year-old manager from La Spezia has made almost his entire career in the world of sports business working at Dorna, the company that distributes MotoGP, and then at Perform, the media company taken over by Blavatnik in 2014.

VERY GOVERNMENT PAY
The situation of Italian football in the era of Covid-19 does not require major analyzes. The virus has hit a patient with every possible previous pathology. The pro-Dazn front in the League, led by the Milan-Inter-Juventus trimurti, points out that the 840 million euros offered by Blavatnik’s managers for seven exclusive matches plus three shared matches are not very far from the figure for the current three-year period (973 million per year). If we add the missed payment to the Infront mediation (55 million euros), the reduction is in the order of 10 percent. Not bad at all, with empty stadiums and Amazon which preferred to focus on Champions League rights.


The uncertainties about the pandemic blocked the negotiation, which could end in litigation, with the funds that had offered 15 billion over ten years to enter the future Serie A media company. The offer, in such a long period of time, is it seemed low to the large ones and high to the small ones (plus Dan Friedkin’s Rome) who already dreamed of getting their share of bank factoring anticipated. Everyone thinks that the Covid-19 buriana will not last forever but the present and the near future are hard for everyone.

Maximo Ibarra’s Sky Italia has 2.9 million football subscribers and in the next four years the new reference partner Comcast wants to reduce the overall workforce by 20 percent. He offered 750 million, half in advance on the nail.


Dazn in turn has 1.9 million subscribers paying a fraction of the Sky rates (10 euros per month), a price that certainly cannot be maintained next year. Those who are skeptical of streaming lists the technical problems that will affect the less equipped areas from the point of view of the gang even if the partnership between Dazn and Luigi Gubitosi’s Tim will intervene, not exactly the best friend of the A League manager Paolo Dal Pino. The dream scenario, or nightmare, is in a very governed Draghi style: a championship round with seven games on Dazn, two on Sky and a “monday night” in the clear on Canale 5, perhaps against the backdrop of a peace treaty between litigating partners of Mediaset, Vivendi and Tim.


Even Sky in the end would not be left dry. From the Milan headquarters in Santa Giulia, it is noted that 1.3 million Dazn subscribers, two thirds of the total, rely on the satellite in order not to risk buffering and images transmitted three minutes late, as still happens today in the areas low coverage.

LOSSES IN ROSSINIAN GROWTH
Blavatnik has come too far to fear political-technological hitches. The tycoon has his main residence in London in thirteen rooms of 200 million pounds in Kensington Palace Gardens, in the so-called “3 billion pound street”, the 3 billion pound street that housed the Soviet embassy after World War II. the Israeli one, and first the MI9 military secret service.
His strategy has been accompanied over the years by an effective philanthropic campaign conducted, financially speaking, with the hard way. $ 250 million in donations went to the prestigious Harvard medical school. Another £ 75 million went to Oxford’s Blavatnik school of government, but Sir Leonard is also on the advisory board of the rival Cambridge university. His family foundation has donated tens of millions to Tel Aviv University, established the Blavatnik awards for young scientists, donated 55 million pounds to the Tate Modern museum. The tycoon underscored his love of music with a $ 25 million check to New York’s Carnegie Hall. In comparison, the opera passion of his friend Fridman, the first Russian private banker and financier of the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, is a trivial matter.


Even the Russian super-president Alexei Navalnij told the Financial Times two years ago: “At least with Blavatnik’s money they build university campuses. Basically he is not tied to Putin ».
On the relationship between the Russian democrator and the Ukrainian-born tycoon, who says he hasn’t met the Kremlin tsar since 2000, not everyone thinks like Navalny and some did not like Blavatnik’s generosity. For example, Charles Hudson, founder of the conservative think tank Hudson Insitute’s Kleptocracy Initiative or the Oxford liberal left.


His million dollar funding for the Republican election campaign, after a few thousand paid to Democrat Barack Obama, got him the attention of Special Attorney Robert Mueller, during the investigation into the money given to the former US president by entrepreneurs linked to the Russia. Unlike Vekselberg and another former business partner, aluminum oligarch Oleg Deripaska (Rusal), Blavatnik was not sanctioned.


Although he has been adept at investing in luxury hotels or in shares of Facebook and Amazon, and although he says he is detached from everything that is Russia, Blavatnik owes the bulk of his fortune to Russian state oil and the so-called aluminum wars waged. around the giant Rusal, of which he was director from 2007 to 2016 and then quarreled with Deripaska and profitably liquidate his stake.
The sale of TNK-BP to Rosneft was the decisive turning point in its fortunes and made people forget the conflicting relations with the British partners. In mid-2012, just before Vladimir Putin resolved the issue by requiring Rosneft to write a check for 55 billion, Blavatnik, Vekselberg and Fridman had tried to liquidate 50 percent of BP by relying on the advice of Rothschild, where Scaroni now works as vice president. Already at the time, the director of the operation was an Italian, Giovanni Salvetti, a Bocconian who left the ranks of Franco Bernabé & co, another former Eni, to become head of Rothschild since the time of the Csi, the confederation of independent states that acted as buffer between the end of the USSR and the organization of post-Soviet nation states. Salvetti acted as advisor to Rosneft in several other operations and worked on the whole ex-Union chessboard, from Kazakhstan to Belarus, including the assignment to sell the business activities of former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in 2015, in the middle of the war of the Donbass.


The exit from oil led Blavatnik to reinvest in chemistry with what is now its main asset, LyondellBasell, a holding valued at $ 6.8 billion, over a billion more than Warner music and more than triple the group. Dazn.


Dazn Italia (234 million in revenues and a small profit) was closed in November and incorporated into the London-based Dazn ltd. The consolidation of the Dazn group holding in 2019 is 878 million dollars and the losses exceed 1.3 billion, almost double compared to 2018 after a transfer campaign in English, German and Spanish football. In Serie A, after all, budget red is more popular than Soviet red. The club presidents said to themselves: if Blavatnik can lose a lot without breaking the bank, he is the man for us.


Source: L'Espresso – News, inchieste e approfondimenti Espresso by espresso.repubblica.it.

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