Disney announced a $1 billion acquisition of a minority stake in BAMTech, the entity holding Major League Baseball’s streaming technology and content delivery business. The spin-out of BAMTech from MLB Advanced Media (“MLBAM”) was announced in late 2015. The Disney investment in BAMTech had been rumored for several months.
In its quarterly SEC filing, Disney disclosed it acquired an initial 15% equity position in BAMTech for $450 million. Disney has committed to purchasing an additional 18% equity interest in BAMTech for $557 million in January 2017. Those two investments value BAMTech at $3.05 billion.
Disney declined to provide any specifics on BAMTech’s operating profile, though did note there is “some very slight dilution from the acquisition.” However, Disney’s management felt this was more than offset by the trajectory of BAM Tech’s business and the opportunities to combine with Disney’s content properties, most notably ESPN.
Based on the previous public statements by MLBAM’s CEO Bob Bowman, the $3.05 billion valuation level implies a revenue multiple of 12.2x expected 2016 revenue for BAMTech (please note several estimates involved in that calculation).
As part of the investment, Disney also gains the right to acquire majority ownership “in the coming years.” The NHL currently holds a 7% – 10% equity position in BAMTech based on the August 2015 partnership deal between the companies.
The announcement coincided with Disney’s fiscal third quarter results. During Disney’s call with analysts, CEO and Chairman Bob Iger, added context on Disney’s diligence of BAMTech.
“I love the business model because I love the quality of what they’ve created, largely from a technology perspective. You’re look at an industry-leading platform. And we did a fair amount of due diligence on this, speaking with people who have been clients of their service. And also, we did our own due diligence in the sense that we’ve been clients of competing services. And we concluded that what they’ve got is really robust” said Mr. Iger.
Since Disney is already a customer of BAM Tech, one immediate question is why Disney thought it was necessary to buy BAM Tech as opposed to renting its services as a customer. During an interview with CNBC, Bob Iger responded to the customer vs. owner question from CNBC host Julia Boorstin.
“First of all, we think it is a good investment. We love their business model. We think that in today’s world having the ability to stream on a scale basis live sports and live programming is a competitive advantage and something that is necessary. We love the user interface. So, overall we look at is as an investment. But as a partner, as a part owner, and ultimately as a majority owner, we feel it gives us an ability to jump start not only ESPN, but are other business as well, into a space that we think is not only very exciting but extremely important in a very dynamic media marketplace. So much better to own than to rent” responded Mr. Iger.
Press Release: Disney Acquisition of Minority Stake in BAMTech
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