Stats LLC Buys Bloomberg Sports In First Major Move Under Vista Equity Partners Control
Stats LLC has purchased rival sports data and analytics outfit Bloomberg Sports, the company's first major move for Stats since it was acquired in May by S.F.-based private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. The deal will combine the assets of Stats, which has built a global business in sports data distribution and motion tracking through its SportVU unit, with the five-year-old Bloomberg Sports, which has built a solid base in player and predictive analytics, particularly for MLB teams and in European soccer. Bloomberg L.P. started Bloomberg Sports in '09, in part as a means to leverage its expertise in the financial markets to the sports industry. Financial terms for Stats' acquisition were not disclosed, but industry sources pegged the deal in the low eight figures. IMG two years ago purchased a minority stake in Bloomberg Sports, thought to be about a third of the company, for a sum in the $6-8M range. That stake has been acquired by Stats in this latest transaction, along with another minority stake previously held by MLBAM. Bloomberg Sports will continue to be based out of N.Y. with an office in London, while Stats remains headquartered in suburban Chicago. The deal was formally announced this morning at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in N.Y. "It's really rare to see a deal like this where the pieces are so complementary and there's so little overlap," said Stats CEO Gary Walrath. "Together, we think there are enormous strengths."
KEEPING ITS NAME: Bloomberg Sports will continue to use the BSports brand name it has increasingly employed over the past year, and for the near term, still work out of Bloomberg L.P. offices in N.Y. Stats expects sometime later in '15 to find separate office space in Manhattan for Bloomberg Sports. Bloomberg Sports President Bill Squadron will remain in place and report to Walrath. The deal is expect to create minimal, if any, employee reduction. "Bloomberg was pleased with our progress, but they were also supportive of a path for us to grow as quickly as possible, and this was certainly it," Squadron said. "Put their capabilities with the kind of growth we've seen in predictive analytics, we see great potential. We think this is the next logical step for BSports." Bloomberg Sports will continue to work closely with MLBAM, which supplies statistics that feed into the BSports Pro2 integrated data system used by most MLB clubs, and Squadron said he is currently in talks with MLBAM on a contract extension to solidify that relationship. "We believe the combination of data and software analytics will enable Stats to continue to provide its existing and new customers with tremendous value," said Vista Equity Partners Principal Christian Sowul.