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Last Trade - 05/07/19

Sector
Telecoms
Size
Large Cap
Market Cap £9.79bn
Enterprise Value £32.93bn
Revenue £13.65bn
Position in Universe th / 6849

Sports streaming service DAZN weighs IPO to drive fresh growth

Thu 8th April, 2021 12:54pm
By Elvira Pollina and Douglas Busvine
    MILAN, April 8 (Reuters) - DAZN, the online sports
broadcaster which this year snatched the rights to screen
Italy's top-flight soccer league from Sky, is considering the
possibility of going public as it chases further growth, its
joint chief executive said.
    Owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik's Access Industries,
DAZN, dubbed the Netflix of Sports, debuted in Germany and Japan
in 2016, and in December announced the launch of its live and
on-demand sports streaming service in 200 countries.
    The group's flat-rate deals to view premium sports via
internet-enabled smart TVs have undercut pricier pay TV packages
offered by established broadcasters.
    However, its early losses were sizable as it splurged on
broadcast rights, and it was hit hard by the coronavirus
pandemic, which saw many live sporting events cancelled.
    "If circumstances were right, I can see us tapping the
public capital markets or the private capital markets over the
next few years,” co-CEO James Rushton told Reuters in an
interview, when asked about the possibility of an initial public
offering.
    While Bloomberg reported last year that the company was
considering an IPO as part of up to $1 billion in fundraising,
citing sources, DAZN executives had not previously commented
publicly on the prospect.
    A flotation would make DAZN the first global sports
streaming company to be listed. 
    The firm's relationship with Access means going into the
public markets is not a necessity, said Rushton.
    However, "can you see Access wanting to gain further support
from someone else? Yes, of course you can – that would be a
natural thing to do," he added. 
    Rushton, promoted to his role in January, says despite
previous losses the company is approaching a tipping point as
customer growth and its efficient technology platform work in
its favour.
    The group, which entered the Italian market in 2018, in
March secured the rights to screen all Serie A matches over the
next three seasons with a bid of 2.52 billion euros ($3
billion), beating out pay-TV player Sky, which is owned by
Comcast  CMCSA.O .  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2LO16P
    English Premier League domestic rights might be the next
target. "Once the tender comes out, we’ll review it,” said
Rushton.
    "The global platform gives... us the opportunity to be agile
and launch or supersize into new markets quite quickly," he
added, saying DAZN would evaluate opportunities in Britain,
France, Spain and Asia as they come up. 
    The coronavirus pandemic challenged DAZN's operating model,
which gives users freedom to cancel their subscriptions at short
notice, as sports leagues were forced to temporarily suspend
tournaments.
    Rushton said the business had withstood the shock. Now, DAZN
is diversifying its revenue base and expects to generate more
than $100 million in advertising revenue this year, he said. It
also plans to add a pay-per-view option.
    DAZN does not need to dramatically change the number of
soccer subscribers in Italy to make its Serie A investment pay
off, Rushton said. Industry sources estimate Sky and DAZN's
total soccer subscriber base in Italy at 3.5-4 million.
    This summer DAZN will consider raising its 9.99 euro monthly
fee in Italy, as it has done elsewhere, Rushton said. It charges
11.99 euros in Germany. 
 ($1 = 0.8422 euros)

 (Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Douglas Busvine; Editing by
Jan Harvey)
 ((douglas.busvine@tr.com; +49 30 220 133 562;))
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