Saturday December 9, 2023

DAZN Wipes Debt, Looks to Betting, Gaming

  • DAZN is having its balance sheet wiped clean by Len Blavatnik's investment firm.
  • The firm is also buying an additional $250 million stake.
DAZN/Design: Alex Brooks
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DAZN is wiping the slate clean with a $4.3 billion recapitalization from its billionaire owner.

Len Blavatnik’s investment firm Access Industries Holdings LLC, DAZN’s principal shareholder, has retired loans, converted shares, and taken on a greater stake in the sports streaming service to eliminate DAZN’s debts as of the end of 2021.

Blavatnik saw his wealth grow by $9.8 billion from the beginning of 2021 to $31.2 billion by mid-May.

DAZN recorded a loss above $1.3 billion for 2019. The company said its revenue has risen 20%, but it is still far from profitable.

Access is putting an additional $250 million into DAZN as it seeks to expand into new markets.

Specifically, the company is lining up moves into:

  • Sports betting
  • Gaming
  • NFTs

On Wednesday, DAZN struck a deal with Buzzer, which will provide short-form boxing highlights available via micropayments. 

Fight for Rights

DAZN built its audience through combat sports but has recently sought out some of the largest audiences in other sports, particularly soccer.

It holds Serie A broadcasting rights and turned down an offer from Sky of $1.8 billion over three years to split them. Those rights are credited with helping to drive its subscriber count from 9 million to 11 million.

In December, it scored a shared deal with Movistar to broadcast La Liga. The five-year pact is worth a combined $5.6 billion

However, DAZN suffered a significant setback when a deal to acquire BT Sport and its coveted English Premier League rights fell through. BT is now in negotiations with Discovery.

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