Lagardère Sports has acquired around 70% of the capital and voting rights of World Sport Group Holdings Ltd (WSG). Based in Singapore, WSG specializes in the management of marketing and TV rights and in sponsorship consultancy for Asian sporting events (in South-East Asia, the Middle East, India and Japan). The Company’s portfolio includes over 600 days of sport annually, and features more than 1,000-hours of live sports programming across more than 30 countries in the region.
WSG is the leading player in the Asian football market, which accounted for a large part of its 2007 revenues. The Company also has interests in golf, and continues to expand its investment into cricket.
- An important source of business for WSG is managing the local and international TV and marketing rights for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), including the Asian Cup, the Asian equivalent of UEFA’s Euro 2008 tournament. The Asian Cup is a four-yearly event, last held in 2007.
- In addition to football, WSG is also a major player in Asian golf, being the television partner for the Asian Tour, and also the leading tournament promoter in the region. It organizes the continent’s leading golf events, including the Barclays Singapore Open.
- Recently, WSG has acquired the international TV rights to the brand-new Indian Premier League- a Twenty20 cricket competition, with a huge potential for development.
WSG is also a member of the Singapore Sports Hub, a consortium which won the bid to build, operate and manage Singapore’s first fully integrated and sustainable sports, entertainment and lifestyle hub that is due for completion in 2011.
The current WSG management (including founder and principal executive Seamus O’Brien) will stay at the helm, using the link-up with Lagardère Sports to accelerate WSG’s expansion in Asia.
For Lagardère Sports, the acquisition offers a number of benefits:
- Access to the fast-growing Asian football market, with unchallenged market leadership in the region;
- Development of its leadership position in the world football rights industry;
- Expansion of the footprint and better reach for Lagardère Sports’ strategic partners (rights holders and sports governing bodies);
- A move into the cricket market via Twenty20, a format with very substantial growth potential.
The agreement is based on an enterprise value of US$125m for around 70% of WSG. An additional payment of up to US$25m will be payable in 3 years, contingent upon cash flow performance criteria.
In 2007, WSG reported EBIT of US$19m on revenues of US$146m.
The Lagardère Group is an international market leader in the media sector (books, press, audiovisual, distribution of cultural and entertainment products, and sports rights). The Group also has interests in the high technology sector via a 12.51% stake in EADS.
Lagardère shares are listed in Paris on Eurolist by Euronext – Compartment A.