Sportradar AG, one of the leading suppliers of sports data, has reportedly backed out of its proposed merger acquisition deal with blank check company Horizon Acquisition Corp. II that was meant to catapult it to being a publicly traded company. Sportradar, also known for its sports integrity program, is instead planning to go public via the traditional initial public offering (IPO) channel.
Swiss-based Sportradar and Horizon Acquisition Corp. II, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) co-owned by Los Angeles Dodgers Tod Boehly, had gone as far as signing a letter of intent back in March. The transaction had placed Sportradar’s value at a whopping $10 billion.
The letter of intent had defined a timeline within which the two parties were to negotiate and seal the deal. However, reports from sources close to the matter indicate that Sportradar and the SPAC were unable to secure enough funding from institutional investors even after extending the negotiating window. As a result, Sportradar’s business combination with Horizon Acquisition Corp. II failed to be formally approved.
Had the deal been successful, it would have been one of the largest blank check vehicle valuations yet, and the biggest for a company in the sports sector.
The Genius NFL Knockout Blow
According to Sports Handle, this $10 billion team-up between Sportradar and Horizon fell through the cracks because the latter was edged out of renewing its lucrative NFL contract in early April. Failing to secure the NFL deal meant that that the public-listing journey for Sportradar would have to be renegotiated and would undoubtedly lead to a significantly lower valuation for the planned business combination.
The Swedish sports data lost the NFL contract to London-based Genius Sports Group, another leviathan in the business of sports betting data. After scooping the NFL data rights deal, Genius Sports completed its merger with dMY II, a blank check company, and successfully made its public debut on the NYSE on April 21st. Genius Sports had been working on its SPAC merger since October 2020.
Sportradar had been the official data supplier for the NFL since August 2019, but the contract expired at the end of the NFL 2020-21 season. After the NFL devastation, Eduard Blonk, the Chief Commercial Officer, explained the defeat in a letter to its sports betting clients, highlighting the company's future strategy. The letter read in part:
“As you would expect, this was a very competitive process, but the economics became irrational and would have required at least a five-fold increase in the fees charged to our customers for the same content and/or a level of loss-making on our part which simply did not make sense.”
Following the NFL data supply loss, Sportradar has been penning marketing deals with professional sports deals, including the NFL’s New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens. These collaborations, however, do not include any form of exclusivity to the official betting data feed of the National Football League, given that Genius Sports already nabbed that part of the contract. As for its IPO, there’s still no information on when the process will be launched.