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BMW inserted an opt-out clause last minute in failed partnership with Bayern Munich

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Needless to say, Bayern’s front office was not amused by the surprise move and is now seeking damages.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Eintracht Frankfurt - Bundesliga
MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 18: President Uli Hoeness of FC Bayern Muenchen and Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge of FC Bayern Muenchen look on prior to the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Eintracht Frankfurt at Allianz Arena on May 18, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Everything was in line for BMW to succeed Audi as Bayern Munich’s primary automotive sponsor, but negotiations for the partnership contract ended in May for what Bayern referred to as a “breach of trust” by BMW. According to a new report from tz, we now know what Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge were referring to as the “unfulfillable” demand that BMW had made.

Per the report, BMW wanted to insert an opt-out clause in the new contract on the day before negotiations were to be finalized. Both parties had already signed a precontract for the deal worth approximately €800 million over a ten-year span starting in 2025, but the last minute demand for an opt-out clause from BMW’s representatives made Bayern end discussions altogether.

In a written statement, Bayern said at the time that it was “breaking off negotiations over a potential sponsoring partnership on account of the absence of a basis of trust” and wished to remain silent “about the reasons for this decision.” Bayern are now in the process of suing BMW for damages upwards of €10-20 million.

Tz further reveals that earlier reports that Audi had responded by offering improved terms to Bayern, proposing to pay €60 million annually, were incorrect. Audi is abiding by its original agreement, which runs until 2025, and hence are still paying the same amount as before negotiations were held with BMW. The damages Bayern are seeking from BMW, thus, are partly to compensate for the loss of revenue that the abortive sponsorship would have brought the club beyond what they will receive from Audi until 2025.