CPPIB, TCV buy stake in Swiss sports data group Sportradar: Reuters

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Silicon Valley-based investor TCV are buying a stake in Sportradar, valuing the Swiss sports data group at 2.1 billion euros (US$2.5 billion), including debt, the companies said on Monday.

Founder and Chief Executive Carsten Koerl will retain his majority stake in Sportradar, while CPPIB and TCV are buying a 37 percent stake from buyout group EQT as well additional shares from other minority investors.

EQT will use some proceeds to reinvest in a very small Sportradar stake. Sportradar will not receive any new funding.

“Sportradar is strongly cash-generative, does not need new money. But the new partners have said that they will finance potential add-on acquisitions,” Sportradar manager Ulrich Harmuth told Reuters.

He added that the technology focus and the strong North American focus of CPPIB and TCV were expected to be a benefit for planned expansion in the United States.

Sportradar supplies data on live sports events and counts sports media and betting companies among its clients. One of its businesses is focused on integrity, helping sporting bodies to fight against match-fixing and corruption.

CPPIB and TCV won out in the auction against buyout groups KKR and Blackstone Group, which had also made it to the final round after Sportradar initially attracted a large number of expressions of interest, people close to the matter said.

In 2018, it is expected to post earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of more than 150 million euros, before costs for sports rights.

Since EQT’s investment in 2012, the firm has acquired peers GSS, BTD and Sportsman among others, and expanded its U.S. business via partnerships with the American Football’s NFL, basketball’s NBA, stock car racing’s NASCAR and ice hockey’s NHL.

Sportradar employs 1,900 staff in 24 countries, and tracks 400,000 annual events in 40 sports. Its customers include media organizations such as AP, Kicker, NBC Sports, Google and Facebook as well as betting companies such as William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes.

Koerl and others founded Sportradar in 2007, based on a company called Market Monitor, in which Koerl had invested and which was originally set up by two Norwegian computer scientists as part of a student programming project.

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Keith Weir)