Sportradar is being valued north of $10 billion in its ongoing conversations with potential buyers, according to multiple people familiar with the talks.
The sports data firm, which is looking to go public, is speaking with multiple SPACs about deals in the $10-12 billion range, according to the people, who were granted anonymity because the talks are private. The company is simultaneously pursuing a traditional public offering and hasn’t made a decision on which path to pursue, the people said.
Sportradar’s valuation has grown significantly in just the last few months. Last year the company fielded a handful of SPAC offers with valuations around $8 billion, the people said. The company’s traditional IPO estimates were in the $6 billion to $8 billion range at the time.
As part of its talks with SPACs, Sportradar is considering raising $2 billion in cash through a private investment in public equity deal, or PIPE, from institutional investors, according to one of the people. The company declined to comment through a spokesperson.
That growth shows just how quickly the value of data—particularly with regards to sports betting—is soaring, and also why the company appears to be taking its time to determine its future. Sportradar was valued at $2.4 billion in 2018, when the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and private equity firm TCV bought a minority stake. Prior investors include the National Football League and a trio of NBA owners—Mark Cuban, Ted Leonsis and Michael Jordan.
Though the people didn’t name specific SPACs, there aren’t many that can pull off a transaction of this size. With valuations above $10 billion, Sportradar would probably need a SPAC with at least $750 million in capital from its IPO to be able to craft a deal of that valuation. There are only five sports-related SPACs greater than $750 million, according to data compiled by Sportico—all led by either Vegas Golden Knights owner William Foley or Golden State Warriors co-owner Chamath Palihapitiya.
That said, smaller SPACs could theoretically swing a deal for Sportradar, especially by involving PIPE investors, or a SPAC with no direct sports connection could also be involved. There are 340 SPACs overall searching for targets, according to SPACInsider.com. Blank check firms typically indicate a target sector, but they can acquire any business they want, provided shareholders approve of the deal and they can finance the closing.
If Sportradar went the IPO route, it potentially could raise less cash than with a SPAC, but it may not need the cash infusion since the business already generates decent cash flow of around $59 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), according to debt ratings services that had access to Sportradar’s finances last year. The business has been linked to discussions with J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley to go the IPO route.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Switzerland, Sportradar’s main business is packaging data from global sporting events and selling it to media and sports betting companies. It covers more than 350,000 sporting events each year across more than 50 sports, and has direct partnerships with many of world’s largest sports bodies, including the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, FIFA and NASCAR.
In gambling specifically, fast and reliable data has become critical to powering live-betting capabilities, which are built on markets as small as the next tennis point, or the next baseball at-bat. Live betting accounts for about 70% of the handle at European sports books, and 50% in the U.S., according to a recent report from Sportico sister publication Variety.
Globally, Sportradar’s sports betting services are both larger and more profitable than its work with media companies. In the U.S. specifically, where sports betting is slowly legalizing state-by-state, the media business is bigger, though that will almost definitely change in the future.
In addition to selling data, Sportradar also offers marketing services and an integrity program, which monitors betting lines and investigates potential fraud-like match fixing.