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Sports Streamer DAZN Acquires $4.3 Billion in Re-Capitalization

DAZN Group, the corporate parent to its branded sports entertainment streaming platform, announced new financing arrangements with Access Industries, its principal shareholder, valued in excess of $4.3 billion.

DAZN, which is led by former Disney+ senior executive Kevin Mayer, in 2021 became the primary broadcaster of Serie A soccer in Italy, acquired rights to LaLiga in Spain, launched substantial coverage of the Bundesliga in Germany, struck a five-year global boxing deal with Matchroom Boxing and a four-year global deal with UEFA Women’s soccer Champions League.

DAZN ended last year with a reported 11 million subscribers, which includes the 5 million households associated with the U.K.’s BT Sport, which the company acquired for $800 million last month.

This M&A progress paved the way for Access Industries to recapitalize the business last December. As part of this recapitalization, Access Industries acquired new DAZN shares while converting existing preference shares and retiring shareholder loans.

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This left DAZN without debt at the end of 2021. Access has additionally subscribed for a further $250 million of new shares post-recapitalization.

“This backing by Access represents a strong vote of confidence in DAZN’s strategy, progress and future growth opportunities,” Kevin Mayer, chairman of the board o DAZN Group, said in a statement. “We are also grateful for the continued support of Dentsu, our second largest shareholder.”

Mayer, who helped launch Disney’s SVOD platform Disney+, joined DAZN after a short stint at Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok. Mayer is attempting to bridge the gap between live sports and streaming video as the transformation of how fans engage with sports evolves.

“We are expecting another exciting year in 2022 as our platform diversifies into the true global destination for sports fans,” Mayer said.

The announcement comes on the heels of significant global momentum at DAZN, including the recent win of domestic LaLiga rights in Spain, being named Apple TV App of the Year for 2021 and reaching a record-breaking number of consumers across the world with its live sports and original programming. As 2022 continues, DAZN expects to move forward with recreational betting, gaming, e-commerce, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and related tech advances in the viewing experience.

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