Sportradar, SPAC Suitor Lengthen Acquisition Time Line


Sportradar and Horizon Acquisition Corp. II (NYSE: HZON) are reportedly extending negotiations to bring the deal across the finish line. Horizon is the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) looking to merge with the betting data provider.

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Investor Todd Boehly, seen speaking at an event above. His SPAC is still hammering out details with Sportradar. (Image: Bloomberg)

The Swiss company has long been rumored to be seeking avenues to go public. This could either be by traditional initial public offering (IPO) or through a blank-check transaction. In March, rumors surfaced Todd Boehly’s Horizon Acquisition Corp. II was holding talks with Sportradar, and that a deal valuing the sportsbook data provider at $10 billion was imminent.

More than two months later, no such agreement has been reached. But the two sides are starting to share private financial details with institutional investors, and unidentified sources cited by Sportico say a deal could be announced in the coming days.

SPACs have two years to find a merger partner or risk liquidation. Horizon Acquisition Corp. II, of which DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins is a board member, raised $525 million in an IPO last October.

Sportradar, SPAC Have Impetus to Get Deal Done

The typical negotiating timeline between a blank-check firm and a merger partner can last up to eight weeks on the high end. However, that’s been topped by Horizon and Sportradar.

However, that’s not the reason the two sides may anxious to make an official announcement. Rather, Horizon and Sportradar may be looking to capitalize on enthusiasm for sports betting SPAC deals before those good vibes dry up.

Genius Sports (NYSE:GENI) recently separated from its blank-check partner. And the stock is lower by 10.45 percent over the past week. Genius Sports is Sportradar’s primary rival.

Genius was valued at $1.5 billion in its merger with SPAC dMY Technology Group, Inc. II, stirring some speculation that the $10 billion valuation on Sportradar is rich. It’s not just Genius that could be prompting Horizon and Sportradar to get to the finish line. It could also be rising criticism of SPAC transactions.

“Then there is the fact that many firms taken public by SPACs have little to show in terms of business plan or revenue, in some cases triggering shareholder lawsuits by disgruntled investors,” according to Harvard. “Meanwhile SPAC successes such as fantasy sports betting firm DraftKings and data company Clarivate Analytics are relatively few.”

A study by researchers from the European Corporate Governance Institute, New York University, Stanford, and Yale indicates shares of most de-SPACed firms decline following the mergers.

Sportradar Still Has Positives

While the broader historical snapshot of post-SPAC performance isn’t pretty, that doesn’t mean Sportradar will succumb to that trend.

The company, whose clients include FIFA, Major League Baseball (MLB), NASCAR, the NFL, NBA, and NHL, generates just six percent of its revenue in the US. That indicates it has plenty of room to grow in the world’s fastest-growing sports betting market.

Additionally, with sportsbook operators looking to offer a broader menu of wagers, including in-game betting, data, and live feeds, offerings by companies such as Genius and Sportradar take on added importance.

That could lead to more revenue opportunities.

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