Perform to merge with Stats following acquisition by US investment firm

Divestiture will allow DAZN to concentrate on its live and on demand sports streaming service.

BBC Sport uses Opta data for Match of the Day

DAZN has sold its Perform division, including Opta, to a US investment firm, a deal that will see it merged with Stats, the sports technology, data and content company.

Vista Equity Partners is behind the acquisition with DAZN receiving both cash and a “significant” minority stake in the newly formed company.

The Perform division includes Opta, RunningBall and Watch&Bet. Opta is the official data partner for the Premier League, EFL and La Liga.

Stats, based in Chicago, offers real-time sports data storage and delivery, proprietary analytics tools, and historical databases.

The new entity will combine Stats expertise in artificial intelligence with both companies’ historical archives, creating what has been described as a “treasure trove of sports data primed to be unlocked by AI.”

“Bringing Perform into the fold will create the most advanced artificial intelligence company in sports.”

In a statement, the two companies said that “pairing the deepest, most granular data with leading AI solutions will accelerate innovation by generating machine learning predictions to improve team performance and player evaluation, automating natural language insights to enrich storytelling for broadcasters and sports technology.”

It will also create new data sets that can be provided to sportsbooks in order to offer precise projections of sports outcomes.

Perform employs more than 1,500 people around the world and works with media owners, rights-holders, bookmakers and professional sports teams. It is not clear at this stage whether all employees are included in the deal.

Stats chief executive Carl Mergele, discussing the merger, said: “Bringing Perform into the fold will create the most advanced artificial intelligence company in sports, providing deeper, more robust data and insights, which is essential to our global partners.

“Not only will we be able to improve our offerings to existing customers, we now have the opportunity to expand our presence in global markets where Perform has paved inroads for years as a leader in digital sports content.”

DAZN Group chief executive Simon Denyer said that his company will “continue as an active minority shareholder” in the new business but acknowledged that the deal would also allow the group to focus on DAZN, the live and on demand streaming service.

All net proceeds from the Perform deal will be invested into the DAZN service, he added.

The Perform transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

No financials were revealed.

Vista Equity Partners completed a buyout of the Stats business from Fox and the Associated Press in June 2014.

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