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Barcelona set to receive transfer boost after members vote for sale of future merchandising, TV rights

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Barcelona's members have voted in favour of the sale of future merchandising and television rights in a decision that could unlock the club's transfer plans this summer.

The vote authorised the Blaugrana to sell a stake of up to 49.9% in the subsidiary company Barca Licensing and Merchandising (BLM) and vend 25% of their future income from LaLiga television rights.

President Joan Laporta said Barca hope to bring in as much €700 million from the two deals they now have the approval to carry out, as reported by ESPN last month.

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Laporta explained the stake in BLM will be worth between €200m and €300m and that the sale of every 10% of TV rights is valued at €200m. The right will be ceded for no more than 25 years.

In a series of interviews this week, vice president for finance Eduard Romeu has stressed the money would help offset the club's debt, which stands at over €1 billion, and ensure they end the financial year, which closes on June 30, in profit following three years of losses.

Part of it will also be designated to improving the playing squad, too. Barca have already agreed to sign Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie from Chelsea and AC Milan, respectively, on free transfers when their contracts expire this month.

However, as things stand, they would not be able to register the two players if the season started tomorrow due to the spending cap imposed on them by LaLiga.

Barca are operating with a limit of -€144m -- the only negative cap in the league -- but hope Thursday's vote, along with other measures, will help them create space to bring in more players.

Romeu has previously said player departures, such as Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United, will not be necessary on a finance level if the club are able to bring in cash for merchandising and television rights.

Barca, though, are working on the departures of more than 10 players who don't feature in coach Xavi Hernandez's plans, while they are also negotiating further wage cuts with some of the team's biggest earners.

Their wage bill, including amortisation payments on transfers, stands at around €560m. Romeu says the long-term goal is to reduce it to €400m, which would be in line with Real Madrid's.

Meanwhile, Barca are looking to press ahead with plans to deliver what Xavi has asked for this summer, including the signing of striker Robert Lewandowski, who has said he wants to leave Bayern Munich.

The votes went overwhelmingly in the board of directors' favour on Thursday. Of the eligible voting members, 568 were in favour of the potential BLM deal and just 65 were against. In the vote for the sale of TV rights, 494 voted for and 62 voted against.

Sources had previously told ESPN that the minority stake in the club's retail arm BLM could pocket the club more than €200m, with Romeu confirming negotiations are ongoing with several companies.

The subsidiary yielded revenue of €63m and €55m in 2018-19 and 2019-20 but dropped to €22m in 2020-21 due to the pandemic. The club estimates income this season will be back up to around €56m.

Television rights in LaLiga are worth much more. The most recent official figures are from the 2020-21 season and show that Barca were paid €165.6m, more than any other club in Spain. Madrid earned €163m.

Barca are negotiating with investment funds, banks and companies to sell up to 25% of that income in one or several deals for no more than 25 years.