UPDATE 2-Perform teams up with Sporting News for U.S. push

Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:12pm EDT
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* UK sports rights group Perform launches U.S. joint venture

* Perform CEOs raise 9.3 million pounds each in share sales

By Keith Weir

LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) - British digital rights company Perform joined forces on Thursday with the owner of historic U.S. media brand Sporting News to accelerate its expansion in the North American market.

Perform, floated in London two years ago, has built its business on buying up online rights to major sports events and supplying video clips or live content to groups like newspaper websites and bookmakers.

A few hours after the announcement of the formation of the U.S. venture, Perform joint chief executives Oliver Slipper and Simon Denyer announced that they had each sold 9.3 million pounds ($14.1 million) worth of shares in the British company.

Perform is setting up the new venture, to be based in New York, with American City Business Journals Inc (ACBJ), whose assets include the SportingNews.com website. Perform will provide an initial $1.4 million for the venture, with ACBJ contributing $4.2 million of funding.

Sporting News was founded in 1886 as a print magazine and was known as 'The Bible of Baseball' until branching out into other sports in the 1960s. It switched to a digital only format at the end of last year.

The British company will own 65 percent of the venture and has the right to buy out ACBJ's 35 percent share for $65 million until 2017, rising to a cost of $85 million from 2019.   Continued...