Sportradar is going public through a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Horizon Acquisition Corp. II, a group led by Los Angeles Dodgers minority owner Todd Boehly, Sportico reported on Sunday.
Sportradar, a global sports betting data company, has signed a letter of intent with Horizon, according to Sportico, initiating the first step in acquiring the private company. The transaction comes less than a week after Sports Handle reported that Sportradar had a deal in place with a SPAC to go public.
The transaction values Sportradar, a Switzerland-headquartered company, at $10 billion, Sportico reported. A Sportradar spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request from Sports Handle on Sunday morning.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) March 2, 2021
An MLB connection
Boehly, a co-founder, CEO, and chairman of Eldridge Industries, owns a minority stake in the Dodgers and is a part owner of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. In 2017, Boehly led a funding round in upward of $100 million, Bloomberg reported. Horizon, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker HZON, raised $525 million from its initial public offering in 2020.
Among the members of Horizon’s board of directors is Jason Robins, who serves as CEO of DraftKings. Under Robins’ leadership, DraftKings became the first daily fantasy sports company to partner with Major League Baseball in 2013. Robins also led DraftKings’ efforts to go public through a reverse merger transaction. Last April, DraftKings made its public debut on the NASDAQ Global Select Market after completing a business combination with Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. (DEAC), a $400 million special purpose acquisition company.
As of September 2020, DraftKings generated a 5.5x return to investors in DEAC’s initial public offering, according to an SEC filing. DraftKings shares rose above $72 a share last week, reaching an all-time high, before dipping below $60 at Friday’s close.
When looking for a potential target, Sportradar sought out a SPAC that provided a value-add by helping the company deepen its relationship with professional leagues, clubs, and media entities, a source told Sports Handle last week. The Switzerland-headquartered company also viewed its listing as a public event similar to DraftKings’ debut last spring when Robins took part in NASDAQ’s virtual bell-ringing ceremony, the source explained.
During the 2020 season, Sportradar had deals with all four U.S. major professional sports leagues, including an exclusive partnership with the NFL. But as the new NFL league year begins next week, the league is looking to secure a new gambling data rights partnership to replace the expiring one with Sportradar, The Athletic reported.
Sportradar launched an MLB virtual in-play offering in early Feburary when it announced an expansion of the company’s existing partnership with the league.
Much like M&A deals involving public companies, a letter of intent is typically the first step in potentially closing a reverse merger. While the letters themselves are usually non-binding, there are aspects within the process with binding terms, according to Mayer-Brown, a global law firm. One binding provision may include a clause that restricts the seller from negotiating with other third-parties during a certain window.
As with any deal that has not been finalized, the transaction may fall apart until it is formally closed.
Would like to see a 2nd, 3rd source on the $hzon Sportradar news. So far, all I've seen is Sportico and a yahoo reprint. Really would like some confirmation from Horizon and/or ST.
— gary jarman (@vgjarman) March 7, 2021
During the acquisition process, Sportradar received a valuation in the range of $10-$12 billion when negotiating on a deal with several SPACs, Sportico reported. The valuation levels rose sharply from the second half of 2020 when Sportradar was valued around $8 billion, according to Sportico. By comparison, Genius Sports, Sportradar’s main rival, received a $1.5 billion valuation when it announced a SPAC merger deal with dMY Technology Group Inc. II last December. DraftKings, meanwhile, was valued at $3.3 billion when it announced a tri-merger with sports betting software firm SBTech and DEAC in December 2019.
Sportradar’s transaction with Horizon reportedly includes a private investment in public equity, more commonly known as a PIPE, according to Sportico. As rumors swirled of Sportradar’s intentions to go public in recent weeks, there has been speculation that a SPAC target may need to attract a PIPE in the neighborhood of $1.5-$2 billion to complete a deal.
Horizon purportedly engaged in advanced talks on a potential deal with Sportradar last week, Bloomberg reported. On March 3, HZON shares rose more than 20% on the news, reaching an all-time high at $12.16.
Horizon closed on Friday at $11.48 a share, up slightly on the session. Horizon shares are up about 13% from the company’s public debut in December.