Endeavor to integrate IMG Arena into Openbet

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Global sports and entertainment company Endeavor announced the move on Thursday. Endeavor aims to leverage the expertise of OpenBet’s betting technology with IMG Arena’s data.

IMG Arena will operate under the OpenBet banner, offering its data to operators, media outlets and other rights holders.

Jordan Levin, chief executive of OpenBet, will spearhead the company, reporting to Endeavor president and chief operating officer Mark Shapiro. Freddie Longe, former IMG Arena president, will remain with the business as a strategic advisor during the transition period.

In the announcement, Shapiro stated this move was in the works for a while following Endeavor’s acquisition of OpenBet. The September 2022 deal was worth $800m (£633.4m/€740.3m).

“When we acquired OpenBet in 2022, we envisioned a holistic integration with IMG Arena that would create a leader in the global betting, sports data and technology industry,” Shapiro explained. “Today is the culmination of that ambition.

“Leveraging Endeavor’s complementary sports and entertainment capabilities, we will unlock meaningful value for the sports rights and IP of our owned and operated properties and, most importantly, for our partners.”

Levin added: “We are uniquely positioned as a leading, end-to-end, sports data, technology and content ecosystem for betting operators, rights holders and media. Putting our customers and their players at the heart of our product and tech innovation remains the key to our ongoing success.”

Endeavor’s growing sports betting interest

The 2022 deal to acquire OpenBet from Light & Wonder was another move in Endeavor’s bid to grow their presence in sports betting, which has shown early signs of promise.

Endeavor’s sports data & technology division generated $124.8m in revenue for Q3 2023, up 167.2% compared to Q3 2022. Endeavor attributed this to the acquisition of OpenBet, as well as growth at IMG Arena. The division’s adjusted EBITDA was $24m for Q3, up a staggering 476.5% year-on-year.

OpenBet’s clients include DraftKings, FanDuel, SkyBet, Ladbrokes and William Hill. IMG Arena, meanwhile, works with more than 470 leading sportsbook brands, leagues and federations worldwide.

Integration comes after takeover rumours

In October, Endeavor Group announced a strategic review that could have seen the business, and its $10bn portfolio, taken private. The company said it had initiated a review to evaluate strategic alternatives.

As well as OpenBet and IMG Arena, Endeavour also owns entertainment agencies WME and IMG. It also owns the sports brands World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

In response to Endeavour’s announcement, $98bn private equity firm Silver Lake stated it was working on plans to take over the group. Silver Lake owns 71% of the voting power, with co-chief executive Egon Durban and managing director Stephen Evans both members of the board’s executive committee. As of yet, though, no bid has been reported.

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