Arlington Capital Partners has agreed to acquire horse-racing content provider Daily Racing Form LLC from The Wicks Group of Cos. No financial terms were disclosed, although LBO Wire puts the price tag at between $170 million and $190 million. Liberty Mutual participated as a minority equity co-investor, while GE Capital led the leveraged finance facility. Other lenders included CIT Corporate Lending, Merrill Lynch Capital, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo. Credit Suisse managed the sale. www.drf.com
Arlington Capital Partners (www.arlingtoncap.com), a Washington, DC-based private equity firm, today announced the formation of Sports Information Group LLC, and its acquisition of Daily Racing Form LLC (www.DRF.com) and sister company Sports Enthusiast Media.
Headquartered in New York City, Sports Information Group is a multi-media information company dedicated to providing premium data driven content to the sports industry.
The company s flagship print publication, Daily Racing Form, has been the dominant daily print publication in the horse racing industry since 1894 and is considered the “Bible” of the thoroughbred racing industry.
Daily Racing Form is complemented by DRF.com, the most heavily-trafficked dedicated horse racing site on the internet.
In addition to its core horse racing data products, the company also owns premium niche brands and content providers in the broader sports enthusiast industry.
“Arlington is excited to invest in the Daily Racing Form, which has a distinguished 113 year history and today remains the clear market leader for news, information and analytics in the North American thoroughbred industry,” said Jeffrey Freed, a Partner at Arlington Capital Partners.
“The horse racing industry is part of the fabric of American culture as evidenced by the fact that in 2006, gross purses reached the highest level in history.” Sports Enthusiast Media includes three premium online brands and three newsstand titles.
This portfolio of assets brings in-depth content and interactivity to sports enthusiasts who follow the major American sports leagues, such as the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League.
John Bates of Arlington Capital Partners noted: “With the addition of Sports Enthusiast Media content at StatFox, Head2Head and FFChamps, the company is positioned to take advantage of the growing demand for online sports statistics and fantasy gaming content in the leading professional and collegiate sports sectors.
Going forward, the company is working to develop cross-selling opportunities across its digital platforms.” Sports Information Group has an accomplished and experienced management team and will continue to be led by its Chief Executive Officer, Brent Diamond.
Long-time company executive Jim Kostas has been promoted to President contemporaneous with the closing of the transaction.
The entire publishing and editorial organization will also remain intact.
Regarding the acquisition by Arlington, Brent Diamond commented “We are excited to establish our partnership with Arlington Capital Partners and continue building our platform into the primary destination for dedicated sports fans looking for premium statistics and information.
With Arlington s relationships, investment experience in the information services and media sectors and significant capital for growth, we look forward to continuing to exceed our customers expectations by expanding the breadth of our product offering through greater content and analytic capabilities.” Debt financing for the transaction was provided by a GE Capital led facility, including lenders CIT Corporate Lending, Merrill Lynch Capital, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo.
Liberty Mutual was a minority co-investor in the transaction in partnership with Arlington Capital.
Arlington received financial advisory services from BMO Capital Markets and retained Goodwin Proctor as legal counsel.
Arlington is acquiring Daily Racing Form, LLC and its affiliates from the Wicks Group of Companies, LLC, who acquired the Company in early 2004.
About Arlington Capital Partners: Arlington Capital Partners (www.arlingtoncap.com) is a Washington, DC-based private equity fund with over $1 billion of committed capital focused on middle market buyout investment opportunities in growth industries including: media and information services, healthcare