Matchroom Sport in talks with CVC, KKR and Searchlight over minority stake, report says
- Selling 25% stake could net Matchroom UK £175m
- Decision on preferred bidder expected in coming weeks, Sky News says
Matchroom Sport is in talks with at least three private equity firms over the sale of a substantial minority stake in the sports promotion company, according to Sky News.
CVC Capital Partners, KKR and Searchlight Capital are all reportedly looking to strike a deal with Matchroom. A decision on a preferred bidder is believed to be expected in the coming weeks.
According to Sky News, the investment could value Essex-based Matchroom at between £600m ($739m) and £700m ($862m), although the figure could ultimately lie outside of this fork.
The size of the stake being sold, as well as the structure of the deal, have reportedly not yet been finalized. If Matchroom parted ways 25% at the upper end of the likely price range, it would fetch £175m ($215m).
Matchroom was founded by Barry Hearn and is now run by his son Eddie Hearn, and the pair reportedly have no intention of giving up control of the business. Launched in 1982, Matchroom first established itself in billiards and darts, before becoming a major player in boxing. It is also present in basketball, fishing, gymnastics, netball, billiards, bowling and poker.
Globally, Matchroom remains best known for its boxing business and counts two-time world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua among its books. In June 2021, the company announced sports streaming subscription service DAZN as the global headquarters of Matchroom Boxing in a five-year deal that The Athletic said was worth well into nine figures. Matchroom and DAZN had already been working together in the United States since 2018 in a joint venture worth an estimated $1 billion.
If CVC gets a stake in Matchroom, it would add deals with companies like LaLiga, League 1, Gujarat Titans, International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), as well as Six Nations Rugby, Gallagher Premiership and United Rugby Championship (formerly the Pro14).
KKR, meanwhile, has been linked with investments in the Bundesliga and World Rugby. Searchlight has a history of backing major media companies, including through a deal with Gato Investments, one of its portfolio companies, to acquire Hemisphere Media Group, which targets Hispanic and Latin American viewers. in the USA.
SportsPro has contacted Matchroom for comment.
Private equity was predicted by SportsPro to be a major force in shaping the sporting landscape in 2022 and it is proving to be. The most recent and high-profile deal saw US firm RedBird Capital Partners acquire AC Milan in a deal valuing the Italian soccer champions at 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion ).
More broadly, the reported figure Matchroom could command highlights the continued appeal of investing in sports assets, even amid fears of a recession. In the past two months alone, Chelsea have been taken over by the Todd Boehly-led consortium for £4.25 billion (US$5.23 billion), while the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights for the 2023 to 2027 cycle reached ₹48,390 crore ($6.2 billion).