Bayern Munich is seeking damages from BMW upward of €10-20 million over an alleged “breach of trust” committed by the automobile company in connection with the negotiations over a massive sponsorship contract that collapsed abruptly in May of this year.
Bayern president Uli Hoeness revealed in March that the club had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with BMW to enter into a ten-year, €800 million (US$893 million) strategic partnership by 2025. The deal would have ended Bayern’s longstanding partnership with Audi and seen BMW take on its domestic rival’s 8.33 per cent stake in the club.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness broke off talks with BMW’s representatives on May 8, when, according to Bayern, BMW suddenly made an “unfulfillable” demand. The nature of the demand is not known, but FAZ’s Michael Ashelm speculates that BMW may have requested that Bayern negotiate with Audi to terminate their sponsorship contract early, rather than succeed Audi in 2025 when it would expire.
Such a request would have been very difficult for Bayern to grant, given that Volkswagen president Herbert Diess sits on the club’s supervisory board, having replaced former Audi CEO Rupert Stadtler in December 2018.
Audi purchased 8.33% of Bayern’s shares in 2014 and pays another €30 million per year as the club’s official automobile sponsor. Bayern’s contract with Audi runs until 2025, but Bayern and BMW had been in talks over a major sponsorship deal since at least August 2018. BMW seemed intent on replacing Audi with a better deal already by September 2018.