Atlético Mineiro transforms into Brazil’s largest SAF to date

Atlético Mineiro transforms into Brazil’s largest SAF to date

Lily Squires - 20 September 2023

Demarest Advogados has helped a group of Brazilian investors acquire a majority stake in Belo Horizonte-based football team Clube Atlético Mineiro for 914 million reais (US$186 million).

Demarest advised 2R Holding – a group owned by Rubens and Rafael Menin, co-founders of engineering company MRV – and their newly-incorporated investment company, Galo Holding, which through which they acquired the majority stake.

Ricardo Guimarães – fellow investor and chairman of Atlético Mineiro’s board – relied on Rolim Goulart Cardoso.

The club turned to Azevedo Sette Advogados for the deal, which was announced on 6 September and is subject to approval by Brazil’s competition authority CADE.

Upon closing, newly formed fund Galo Holding will own a 75% share of the football club. The fund’s name is a reference to Atlético Mineiro’s nickname – Galo – (meaning rooster in English), thanks to its long-standing mascot.

Through the injection of funds, Atlético Mineiro will become a Sociedade Anônima do Futebol (SAF), a limited company that allows external investors to inject capital into Brazilian football clubs, whilst also permitting teams to carry out debt restructurings and debenture offerings.

The total contribution made by Galo in return for the 75% stake consists of a 600 million reais (US$122 million) cash investment, in addition to 314 million reais (US$64 million) worth of credit. Galo will assume the club’s debt, valued at 1.8 billion reais (US$366 million).

The deal is not only the most recent SAF transformation by a Brazilian football club, but also the biggest so far by value of investment.

Fellow Brazilian club Cruzeiro became the first team to use the SAF structure in 2021, followed by Botafogo in 2022 with the investment from US businessman John Textor. Shortly after, Rio de Janeiro-based team Vasco da Gama became an SAF after an investment worth US$137 million from 777 Partners.

Atlético Mineiro plays in Brazil’s Série A, the country’s top division, having finished seventh in the league last year.

Latin Lawyer will publish a feature on SAFs and their potential in the Brazilian market in the coming weeks, featuring commentary from leading partners involved in the transactions.

Counsel to 2R Holding and Galo Holding

Demarest Advogados

Partners José Diaz, Andre Novaski, Bruno Drago, Fabio Braga, João Luis de Almeida, Marcello Pedroso and Tatiana Campello, and associates Betina Portella Ferreira, Bianca Reis, Camila Dayrell Garrote, Fausto Muniz Miyazato Teixeira, Guilherme Inaba, Job Pitthan, Joao Godoy, Marcelo Peloso, Marco Antonio Fonseca, Renato Dale and Rodrigo Zilio

Counsel to Clube Atlético Mineiro

Azevedo Sette Advogados

Partners Luiz Sette, Luis Miraglia, Bruno Felippe Almeida and Luiz Salles, and associates Natalia Meirelles Barros, Pedro Henrique De Castro Oliveira, Lorena Pretti Seraglio, Bruna Bigas, Gabriela Lima Nogueira and Matheus Araujo Aiala Agostinho

Counsel to Ricardo Guimarães

Rolim Goulart Cardoso

Partners Fabio Appendino, Alessandra Rezende Torres and Paolo Zupo Mazzucato