European private equity firm Bridgepoint is to acquire Zug-based sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, from Jacobs Holding, the Junkermann Group and Dr Martin Steinmeyer.
The size of the deal, which was for 100 per cent of the company’s shares, was not disclosed.
In 2010, Infront generated revenues of over €600m and has more than 20 offices across Europe and Asia and a rights portfolio in winter sports, football and summer sports.
In football, it is partner to international and national federations, leagues as well as clubs. In winter sports, Infront epresents six out of the seven Olympic winter sports federations, including FIS for skiing and the IIHF for ice hockey; in motor sports, it is the promoter of the FIM Superbike World Championship. It also represents the Chinese Basketball Association – on league and national team level.
Xavier Robert, partner at Bridgepoint in Paris, said, “Infront is a scarce asset in an attractive sector with a strong management team and a unique competitive position. It has a well diversified portfolio of prestigious and operationally complex events that position it well to outperform the market. Not only are there continued growth prospects with current rights holders, but also the potential for strategic expansion in terms of geography, products and services.”
The global sports rights market is estimated to be worth $121bn in 2011, with the global market for media and sponsorship rights representing $56bn.
Bridgepoint’s experience in the sector includes its current investment via another fund in Dorna, the global rights holder to the MotoGP Motorcycle World Championship, as well as a successful track record in TV production that includes All3Media in Great Britain, producer of Formula One in the UK and Marathon Group in France, respectively sold in 2006 and 2007.
The firm said it would aim to encourage the further development of Superbike and MotoGP although both series will continue to be organised and managed separately.
Dorna and Infront Motor Sports said they are committed to the long-term relationship with the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) as their strategic partner as well as the partnerships with teams and manufacturers, circuit owners, sponsors, broadcasters and other stakeholders of the series.
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