Emerald Media, the Pan-Asia company backed by leading global investment firm KKR, announced that it has acquired a significant minority stake in Global Sports Commerce, one of the world’s largest sports technology and management companies, through a combination of primary and secondary investments.
The aggregate US $80mn investment will include the secondary purchase of Asia-focused private equity firm FidelisWorld’s stake in Techfront and the primary growth capital. The growth capital will enable GSC and its global affiliate Techfront to explore inorganic acquisition opportunities, develop next generation technologies for the sporting eco-system, and expand its operations in the fast-growing digital sporting solutions markets across the globe.
FidelisWorld, which had invested in Techfront in 2014, will be fully exiting the business as part of the current transaction. Asia-focused private equity firm ADV Partners, which invested in GSC in 2015-16, will continue to hold a significant minority stake in the company.
Headquartered in Singapore, GSC combines cutting-edge technology solutions in the fields of LED signage, sponsorship management, premium consulting, fan engagement, AR/VR, drone-based data acquisition, wireless tech and data-sciences. It offers clients these comprehensive sports technology and management services by leveraging its extensive network of companies that include Techfront, ITW, Qubercomm, Sportsgateway, Media Bay, Beyond Boundaries, Cartoon Mango and Nanoyotta.
Since its launch the company has cultivated strong relationships with franchises across the sporting world with the aim of enhancing the commercial value of its sporting clients and creating new avenues for commerce. The franchises that GSC has partnered with include FIFA, the English Premier League, NRL Australia, Australian Football league, IPL, Formula 1, Big Bash League, New Zealand Cricket, Cricket Australia, IMG and Asia Sports. The company offices in 16 cities in 10 countries including Australia, Hungary, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, the UAE, UK, and the USA.
M S Muralidharan, CEO of GSC, said, "We are very happy to have a strong partner in Emerald Media, whose team’s extensive investment experience and critical connections across the globe will help deepen GSC’s engagement with the world of sports. This investment further contributes to the consolidation of sports commerce worldwide via use of technology, and it helps us expand our international footprint."
Rajesh Kamat, Managing Director of Emerald Media, said, “The introduction of digital technology into the world of sports has helped amplify fans’ appreciation of the games and has helped to create an alternative source of revenue for clients, besides the games themselves. GSC, with its 360-degree sports solutions, has transformed sports tech in India and across the globe by enhancing the way sports franchises interact with fans and capitalizing on the ardor of their fan base. With GSC, we are excited to add sports to our eco-system of assets.”
Paul Aiello, Managing Director of Emerald Media, added, “In a few short years GSC has established itself as a leader in the Sports technology industry. We are pleased to partner with M S Muralidharan who is a pioneer in the field and look forward to accelerating the expansion of the business as a key player in the industry, as it further expands its reach in the global market.”
Veda Corporate Advisors advised the company on the transaction.