Endeavor, the parent brand of companies including WME, IMG and UFC, has agreed to buy over-the-top video technology company NeuLion in a deal valued at roughly US$250 million (€200 million).
“Through our content portfolio, client base, and broader network of rights holders we’ve encountered many different platforms for distributing and monetising content,” said Ariel Emanuel, CEO, Endeavor.
“NeuLion provides an ideal combination of technology and client services and we’re excited for the value this brings to our existing partners and the foundation it provides for our future digital growth.”
NeuLion president and CEO, Roy Reichbach, said: “We’re excited by the value delivered to our stockholders through this transaction, and we’re looking forward to the dynamic opportunities that being part of the Endeavor family will provide for both our current and new clients.”
The deal was unanimously approved by NeuLion’s board of directors and has the written consent of holders of a majority of NeuLion’s outstanding common stock. It is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.
NeuLion specialises in digital video broadcasting, distribution and monetisation of live and on-demand sports and entertainment content to any connected device.
Its clients include the NFL, NBA, Eleven Sports, Univision and UFC – the mixed martial arts organisation that was acquired by Endeavor in 2016.
Endeavor, which was rebranded from WME | IMG last year, is a global sports, entertainment and fashion company that operates in more than 30 countries.
The Endeavor network specialises in talent representation and management; brand marketing, sponsorship and licensing; media sales and distribution; event operation and management; and sports training and league development.
While Endeavor did not expand on the strategy behind the NeuLion deal, last year Disney made a similar video technology play when it agreed to pay US$1.58 billion (€1.34 billion) to up its stake in video streaming technology firm BAMTech to 75%.
In that instance, Disney announced plans to use BamTech’s technology to launch an ESPN-branded multi-sport video streaming service in early 2018, followed by a new Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019.
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