DAZN ‘out to raise $1billion funding, could go public’

Streaming platform DAZN is reportedly looking to raise $1billion in funding, and would even consider going public to do it.

The company – backed by Ukrainian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik – had reportedly been looking for investment or even an outright sale in May as the COVID-19 pandemic effectively shut down the world of live sports broadcasting.

And now it appears that desire to raise cash is back in focus again – with the platform also apparently preparing to roll out its platform in more than 200 countries globally with boxing again the focus.

According to Bloomberg, DAZN “is speaking with advisers about options including a stock-market listing or divestment of assets, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It is seeking to raise as much as $1 billion, one of the people said”.

The report added: “DAZN is in the early stages of considering an initial public offering, the people said. It’s also held talks about going public through a deal with a so-called special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, and has discussed selling a stake in its Japanese business, one of the people said.”

DAZN launched in Germany in Japan in 2016, but its United States rollout in 2018 created the biggest splash as the platform went all in on boxing. It inked Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing to a reported $1billion deal over eight years and also signed superstars like Mexican Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez ($365million for 11 fights) and his great middleweight rival Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.
But so far the company has been unable to make the expected megafights such as Canelo vs GGG which it is thought would provide significant subscriber boosts from a crossover audience. And the months without live sport caused by the pandemic hit all sports broadcasters hard.
DAZN currently costs $19.99 per month in the United States or £99 for an anual subscription. However reports have claimed an imminent launch in the UK could see it costing around £4.99 per month there.
While there has been talk of DAZN cutting back on costs and markets (it has also been struggling to finalise a date and opponent for Canelo’s next bout, which had been planned for September 12), it is still moving ahead in key territories.
Only recently it beefed up its Bundesliga soccer rights in Germany by purchasing a premium package, while it aired the Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin heavyweight fight in all nine of its markets on Saturday night (the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland).
DAZN, which did not comment on the Bloomberg report, has also shown all of world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s fights since September 2018 in the United States.