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DAZN ‘seeking $1bn’ funding for streaming service

DAZN Group, the global sports subscription service and media company, is looking into ways of securing new investment of as much as $1bn (€845m).

Bloomberg reports that the company is speaking with advisors on the differing options, including divestment of assets and a strategic initial public offering.

This is not the first time that the media company has sought investment. Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, DAZN hired financial services company Goldman Sachs with a view to raising as much as $500m in investments.

It is also currently in “final stage” negotiations to sell its Goal.com football website to US-based private equity firm TPG Capital. Executives “with knowledge of the discussions” told The New York Times that TPG is in talks to secure the business for as much as $125m.

Within the funding options for DAZN is the sale of a stake in its Japanese arm. The country is one of the strongest performers for the streaming service, which also operates in Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the US.

In Japan, DAZN holds rights to the J-League, the country’s top-tier football league, in a 10-year deal running from 2017 to 2026. It also holds rights to both the Uefa Champions League and Europa League competitions through to the end of the 2020-21 season.

The need for funding comes as DAZN is on the verge of launching its new global service and is “committed” to adding more live sports and sports content to the service from early next year.

It has also invested heavily in securing key live content for its German operation, where from 2021-22 it has secured rights to the majority of Uefa Champions League matches and boosting its German Bundesliga coverage to 106 matches per season.

The OTT streaming operation of its business was hit hard by the pandemic, due to the effect on live sports and its flexible monthly subscription model. This month however, James Rushton, DAZN Group’s acting chief executive, has said that the paying subscriber base is on track to be “fully recovered to pre-Covid levels” by the fourth quarter of this year.

Despite this, the streaming service has sought to reduce costs in some of its markets. It has ended its deal in Brazil for the Copa Sudamericana competition and moved to terminate its Uefa Champions League rights in southeast Asia one year early, before it even had the opportunity to launch its platform in the region.