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SBD Global/July 4, 2013/Finance

Perform Group On Verge Of Acquiring Opta Sports Data In Projected $61M Deal

U.K.-based digital media outfit Perform has reached a proposed deal to purchase Opta Sports, a London-based sports data provider. Opta Sports works with hundreds of major European sports entities, including the EPL, La Liga and the Dutch Eredivisie, to provide data and analytics both on a consumer-facing basis, and for scouting and player development, and in the U.S. is aligned with Major League Soccer. The proposed acquisition is for $61M, with a management incentive of up to $10.7M more, and is conditional on a successful fundraising by Perform. The company is planning to raise $183M through a share placement. The deal extends a flurry of activity for Perform, including a recent joint venture with American City Business Journals (parent company of The Daily and SportsBusiness Journal) to create Sporting News Media. The Opta Sports assets in part will be integrated with Goal.com, Perform's global football portal. Opta Sports had been seeking a larger, more institutional investor for roughly a year (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In London, Jones & Cookson reported Perform joint CEO Oliver Slipper said that the deal "would allow Perform to capitalise on the growing hunger of media groups for sports statistics." He added, "We felt over the past year or two that sports data for the media sector ... is becoming a more and more important part of their content mix." Slipper said that further deals "could follow in Europe and Asia," and added that it "might purchase consumer-facing websites akin to goal.com, which it bought" in '11. Perform said that Opta was "expected to have achieved sales" of $19.1M in the year to June 30 and $2M of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. Four-fifths of Opta’s sales "come from its media products arm, which supplies data to websites, broadcast feeds and databases" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/3). Also in London, Mark Sweney reported Philip Barker, a partner at Cavendish Corporate Finance who advised Opta on the deal, said that sports data "is a red-hot sector and Perform had paid a premium price." Barker: "The sports data sector is one of the hottest areas in mergers and acquisitions at the moment, reflected in the global level of interest we received for Opta and the proposed price" (GUARDIAN, 7/3).
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