German league abandons private equity deal after fan protests

Bayern Munich game interrupted a second time due to protest (2:28)

The game between Bayern Munich and VfL Bochum has been interrupted again due to the tennis ball protest over planned private investment in the Bundesliga. (2:28)

The German Football League (DFL) said Wednesday it is abandoning plans to sell a stake in its media rights income to an outside investor after months of increasingly disruptive protests by fans.

In December, Germany's first- and second-tier football clubs voted in favour of letting a financial investor take a stake of the DFL media arm in a deal valued at between €900 million ($973.2m) and €1 billion ($1.08bn).

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

The DFL, which is responsible for the Bundesliga and second-tier 2. Bundesliga, said its board decided Wednesday not to proceed with the deal.

"A successful continuation of the process looks impossible given the current developments," DFL board spokesperson Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a statement.

"Even if the large majority is in favour of a strategic partnership. That is why the board unanimously decided ... not to continue the process and not to conclude it."

Private equity investor CVC Capital Partners was the only remaining prospective buyer for a 20-year slice of broadcast and sponsorship revenue in return for an up-front payment.

Protests by fans throwing objects onto the pitch have caused lengthy stoppages at games for weeks since the clubs in the top two men's divisions voted in December.

Some protests have involved fans using remote-controlled cars and airplanes to stop games, and in one case attaching bicycle locks to the goalpost.

Watzke said any new votes to try to restore it would only raise other issues surrounding the process and that was not the desired goal of the DFL.

He said the DFL would in the coming weeks invite clubs to talks to analyse the process.

The decision is a major blow for the DFL which had been looking to boost revenues. Leagues across Europe are increasingly eyeing external funding via broadcasting arrangements to increase income and their global reach.

The Bundesliga is ranked as Europe's second-biggest league by revenue after England's Premier League.

Information from the Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.