Sponsor: Arlington Capital Partners
Target: Daily Racing Form
Price: $180 million
Seller: The Wicks Group of Companies
Financial Advisor: Seller: Credit Suisse
Arlington Capital bought the company, which it has renamed Sports Information Group LLC, from media buyout specialist
The bulk of the company’s revenues come from Daily Racing Form, published since 1894 on every day except Christmas. Even to the casual handicapper, the Daily Racing Form is required reading at the track, with thousands of data points in each issue on which horses to bet on.
The paper includes the coveted “Beyer Speed Ratings,” created by Washington Post horse racing reporter Andy Beyer, which lets bettors compare horses by providing a numeric assessment of their performances on different tracks and at different distances. It’s only after assessing the Beyer ratings that many bettors feel comfortable with their choice of horse. Diamond said his company has a long and healthy relationship with Beyer, which will continue.
Both Diamond and Arlington Capital founder Jeffrey Freed both seem keen on add-on acquisitions. “We’re going to be opportunistic with acquisitions on the breeding side as well as for the more general enthusiast,” said Freed. Acquisitions could include more fantasy sports content as well as more products and analytics added to the Daily Racing Form Web site. Diamond expects to make several acquisitions both inside and outside the horse racing media industry over the next year.
Credit Suisse led Wicks Group’s auction, giving Arlington Capital an introduction over the summer. Negotiations began in August and culminated in October. GE Commercial Finance supplied a $117.25 million credit facility for the deal.
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