STATS merger with Perform allows DAZN Group to prioritise OTT service

US-based sports, data and technology company STATS is to merge with Perform in a deal which could help fund the global expansion of the DAZN OTT sports platform.

A statement by the two firms indicated that the deal was enabled by an investment from Vista Equity Partners and that DAZN will receive a combination of cash and a minority stake in the newly-merged company. The exact financial details of the merger were not revealed.

DAZN Group is the company created last September when Perform Group rebranded and split into two entities: rights-holding OTT business DAZN, and betting rights, data, news and video company Perform Content. The restructuring allowed the company to divest itself of Perform Content so that it can focus on the DAZN subscriptions arm.

STATS provides sports data, technology, and content to broadcast partners, media, leagues, teams, fantasy providers and B2B and B2C brands. The statement said STATS’ expertise in artificial intelligence and both companies’ rich data archives would combine to offer machine learning predictions to improve team performance and player evaluation, automate natural language insights to enrich storytelling for broadcasters, and provide sportsbooks with more player props and precise projections of sports outcomes.

“Bringing Perform into the fold will create the most advanced artificial intelligence company in sports, providing deeper, more robust data and insights, which is essential to our global partners,” said STATS chief executive Carl Mergele.

“Not only will we be able to improve our offerings to existing customers, we now have the opportunity to expand our presence in global markets where Perform has paved inroads for years as a leader in digital sports content.”

Perform Content, the DAZN Group’s B2B business, had previously been its biggest sales engine, delivering revenues of £278m (€322m/$365m) last year against a turnover of £439m. But total subscription revenue for the DAZN service has grown rapidly from below £9m to more than £90m last year after the company introduced itself into a number of markets.

DAZN Group chief executive Simon Denyer said: “Over 12 years we created a leading global portfolio of content and clients, but the combination of STATS and Perform takes the service to a new level of potential for everyone. While we will continue as an active minority shareholder in the new business, this deal also allows the group to focus on DAZN, into which we will invest all net proceeds from the deal.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019. Robert F. Smith, founder, chairman, and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners said: “STATS and Perform are two exceptional, highly-complementary companies with extensive backgrounds as industry innovators that will deliver superior products to customers as one combined entity.”