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The owner of WME has acquired NeuLion, the New York-based digital video technology company, for $250 million.
NeuLion specializes in digital video broadcasting of live and on-demand content, which notably includes the NBA, UFC, NFL and English Premier League Soccer. Endeavor, formerly WME | IMG, own UCF. The deal for NeuLion will bring in-house the technology used to live stream UFC’s fights.
“Through our content portfolio, client base, and broader network of rights holders we’ve encountered many different platforms for distributing and monetizing content,” Endeavor CEO Ariel Emanuel said Monday in a statement. “NeuLion provides an ideal combination of technology and client services, and we’re excited for the value this brings to our existing partners and the foundation it provides for our future digital growth.”
The transaction was unanimously approved by NeuLion’s board of directors. As part of the deal, Endeavor will acquire NeuLion’s outstanding common stock for 84 cents per share and will operate NeuLion as a private subsidiary.
Publicly traded NeuLion will become a private subsidiary of Endeavor.
The two companies have worked together before, during last year’s blockbuster combat-sports crossover match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. The fight’s stream, which was handled by NeuLion with partner UFC, had various technical difficulties, with many fans demanding a refund. Showtime’s app also faced buffering issues during the the popular matchup, which with 4.3 million buys was the second biggest pay-per-view offering of all time.
Live-streaming technology has become increasingly valuable as more consumers cut their cable subscriptions and seek alternative ways to watch live sports and popular TV shows via their set-top TV boxes. Disney now owns 75 percent of MLB-developed BAMTech after two deals that valued the company at $3.75 billion. NBCUniversal has also developed its own live-streaming technology, Playmaker Media, to power subscription streaming offerings from NBC Sports, and Turner owns a majority stake in streaming technology provider iStreamPlanet.
“We’re excited by the value delivered to our stockholders through this transaction, and we’re looking forward to the dynamic opportunities that being part of the Endeavor family will provide for both our current and new clients,” said NeuLion CEO Roy Reichbach.
Natalie Jarvey contributed to this report.
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