ndisclosed minority stakeholders also sold their shares, Sportradar said in a statement Monday. EQT had a 35 percent stake in the company, according to its website. The sale represents a return of more than four-times EQT’s initial investment, a person familiar with the matter said.
Sportradar founder and Chief Executive Officer Carsten Koerl retains his majority stake in the business, whose investors include a trio of U.S. sports team owners: billionaire Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Hornets and Ted Leonsis of the Washington Wizards and Capitals.
The sale comes about two months after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed for the state-by-state legalization of sports betting. Betting parlors are already open in Delaware and New Jersey. Legalized betting has resulted in mushrooming importance for official data. Betting houses rely on the fastest, most accurate data to fuel what’s called in-game, or live betting, which drives much of the wagering.
“The sports data market, particularly real-time data, is a compelling long-term investment opportunity, with strong growth driven by rising fan engagement, opening of new markets and increasing spend on digital sports content globally,” said Ryan Selwood, managing director and head of direct private equity for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in a news release. “We are excited to partner with (Sportradar founder and CEO Carsten Koerl) and look forward to supporting his innovative vision for Sportradar by further investing into artificial intelligence and global expansion.”
Founded in 2003, Sportradar built its European foundation in the betting and gaming industries, where it also provides fraud detection for betting houses and leagues. In the U.S., prior to legalized sports betting, the company focused its business on media and technology companies, including Google, Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.
Sportradar has exclusive partnerships to distribute the data of the NFL, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Nascar. Track an NFL game down on your iPad, for example, and you’re probably looking at a Sportradar data feed; look up a player’s stats online, and that’s likely to be Sportradar data, too. The company also has partnerships with FIFA and UEFA.
EQT has backed the company since 2012, when one of its funds invested 44 million euros ($52 million) for a minority stake. Sportradar had sales of 286 million euros last year, up from 91 million euros in 2014, EQT said on its website. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization were 124 million euros in 2017, up from 28 million three years previously.
Stockholm-based EQT, backed by the wealthy Wallenberg family, is the largest buyout firm in the Nordic region, having raised 50 billion euros across 27 funds, according to its website.