Spotlight Sports Group, the media entity that owns British horseracing the Racing Post, is reportedly heading towards a £500m sale at auction, as its private equity owner looks to cash in on the growing capital tied to sports betting data.
Exponent Private Equity, which scooped up the horseracing publication in 2016, has begun talks with investment banks about selling its parent company Spotlight Sports Group at auction as soon as the first half of next year, Sky News first reported.
The Racing Post is just one of, but the best-known, of Spotlight’s brands, which since the Exponent takeover have expanded to include digital betting tips sites Free Super Tips and My Racing, and US betting insight site Pickswise.
Spotlight also operates ICS Digital, a specialist agency that provides third-party support for other betting businesses, including SEO, digital marketing, and translation services.
Owing to the digital nature of much of its business model, Spotlight is expected to sell for a substantial premium at potential auction.
Launched in 1986, the Racing Post’s newspaper, website and mobile app provide comprehensive news, race information and bloodstock data across all formats, turning it into the horseracing industry’s “bible”.
Since then, it has been owned by Trinity Mirror media group (now Reach), and boutique investment firm FL Partners.
Lloyds Bank’s commercial banking strategic debt finance division was also involved in Exponent’s takeover of Spotlight in 2016.
The Racing Post was founded by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, one of the world’s most prominent horseracing figures, credited with transforming the sport into a global industry.
The sheikh, who also founded the world’s largest horseracing team Godolphin, holds Racing Post’s name in perpetuity.
Exponent declined to comment.