Juve shares slide as scandal deepens

JUVENTUS Football Club SpA shares slid yesterday on concern that Italy’s most successful soccer team may be dropped from the country’s premier league, putting at risk €600 million in television and sponsorship contracts following corruption allegations.

Juventus fell as much as 29 cents, or 14%, to €1.735 before being suspended at €1.745 at 9:24am in Milan, giving the company a market value of €211m.

The team controlled by the Agnelli family said on May 13 that contracts with companies including News Corp, Mediaset SpA and Nike may be at risk if the team is demoted from Serie A. Those contracts include about €110m from Mediaset SpA for television rights for each of the next two seasons and €95m from Sky Italia SpA, a unit of News Corp, for satellite rights for next year.

“At this point we may see a delisting of the company,” said Niccolo Pini who helps manage about $700 million at Banca Ifigest SpA in Florence. “We got out a few weeks ago and no longer hold any shares, not even for speculative purposes.”

On May 12 Juventus’ entire board resigned after the disclosure that General Manager Luciano Moggi is under investigation by Rome and Naples prosecutors. Moggi and Chief Executive Antonio Giraudo allegedly influenced the assignment of referees for matches, according to prosecutors. Other clubs including Lazio and Fiorentina are also being targeted by the probe, Corriere della Sera has reported.

Moggi, who quit on Sunday, has denied the accusations and is being interrogated by magistrates in Rome.

Juventus is based in Turin, the home of the Agnelli family, who control Fiat SpA, Italy’s biggest manufacturer, and Ifil SpA, the investment company that owns 62% of the soccer team. Fiat shares fell 51 cents, or 4.5 percent, to €10.72 in Milan, and Ifil lost 16 cents, or 3.3 percent.

On Sunday, Juventus won its 29th Serie A championship.

The club could be stripped of that title and possibly earlier ones if the investigation shows that referees favoured Juventus.

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