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Perform rights group readies flotation

By
England football fan

© Rex Features

Perform Group, the digital sports rights company, has confirmed plans to float on the London Stock Exchange in a move that could value the business at around £500 million.

The company, which sprang to fame in 2009 after streaming an England international match exclusively online, is hoping to make an initial public offering (IPO) to float at least 25% of the business to raise about £70m.

Funds raised from the IPO will be used "both to accelerate Perform's organic growth plans and to fund complementary strategic acquisitions", said the firm.

Perform commercialises sports content rights across multiple internet-enabled digital platforms. The company streamed around 25,000 sporting events last year, delivering more than 1.1bn video streams.

Oliver Slipper and Simon Denyer run the business as co-founders and joint chief executives, with Paul Walker, the former chief executive of Sage, recently coming on board as non-executive chairman.

Walker said that he had been "impressed" by Perform's business and management team, along with its growth potential as a listed company.

"I have been impressed by the significant growth that Perform has delivered as a private company. But there is more to come and I believe Perform has a very promising future as a publicly-listed company," he said.

"I, along with the rest of the board, am committed to helping the executive management team ensure the continued success of the business, working to the sound corporate governance rules required of a listed company."

Slipper added: "Our experienced management team has the ability and ambition to continue to deliver on our plans. The funds raised through the IPO will give us a substantial platform to grow further.

"We are very excited about this next stage in our story and look forward to the opportunity the public markets will provide us with to create value for all shareholders - while delivering unforgettable experiences for millions of sports fans worldwide."

Access Industries, the investment vehicle of American billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, owns a 58% stake in Perform, with 40% held by exiting management and staff.

Discussing the IPO plans, Blavatnik said: "Perform is a highly innovative company with significant growth potential. I am pleased we have helped form the business and guide it through its early stages.

"The listing heralds a new phase to cement its position as a leading global online sports business. Access Industries looks forward to providing continued support to Perform and its management in the future."

Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley have been appointed as joint sponsors and co-ordinators of Perform's public offer, with the two banks and UBS acting as joint bookrunners.

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