SPORTS MEDIA rights group Perform said yesterday it will pay up to €120m (£93m) in cash and shares to buy sports data company RunningBall, the largest acquisition it has made since floating last year.
RunningBall produces real-time data coverage of sporting events – covering more than 35,000 events last year including over 30,000 football games around the world, by using a network of 1,100 scouts who key in information live from venues.
It had revenue of €16.1m and made a pre-tax profit of €7.2m for 2011, up 20 per cent and 75 per cent respectively from the previous year.
The Swiss-based company is still owned and run by its founder, IT entrepreneur Hans Thomas Gross.
The deal was well received by Perform’s investors yesterday, sending the company’s shares up seven per cent. Analysts at Numis also applauded the deal, which is the latest in a series of acquisitions that Perform has made in recent months.
“We could not have designed a better business for Perform to have acquired. Of the five key elements in digital sports, Perform already has market-leading positions in four, while RunningBall adds the fifth,” said Paul Richards at Numis.
Perform will pay an initial consideration of €20m cash and €50m in new Perform shares to Runningball, plus a deferred consideration of €31m-€50m depending on 2012 results.
Perform raised less than expected when it floated last April, but has been raising its profile ever since, and earlier this month said it was track to deliver forecast revenue and profits.
MEET THE ADVISERS
UBS acted as the sole sponsor to Perform on the sports media rights group’s acquisition of RunningBall, having helped the group as one of three bookrunners when it floated in April 2011. Following the listing the bank was appointed as one of Perform’s house brokers in June last year.
Leading the team at UBS was Christian Lesueur, head of EMEA media and telecoms investment banking.
Lesueur also led UBS’ work for Perform on its float, and just last month helped long-term client Vodafone secure its £1bn takeover of Cable & Wireless Worldwide with colleagues Simon Warshaw and Jonathan Rowley.
He was also part of the squad that advised Verizon Wireless on its $28.1bn acquisition of regional carrier Alltel Wireless back in 2009, and last year helped worldwide satellite communications services firm Vizada with its €673m sale to Astrium – the aerospace subsidiary of EADS.
Lesueur worked alongside a team from UBS comprising Jonathan Retter, Massimo Marinelli and Warren Stables.
Morgan Stanley was joint broker with UBS on the deal, led by Andrew Foster – part of the team that recently pitched for and won a place on Tullow Oil’s panel after it parted company with its long-standing corporate brokers, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and RBS Hoare Govett.