Beijing Baofeng Technology Co Ltd (Baofeng) announced yesterday that it has acquired the U.K.’s media rights distributor MP & Silva, but declined to reveal the details of the transaction.
This represents yet another overseas acquisition by a Chinese firm in the sports sector following Dalian Wanda’s €1.05bn acquisition of Infront Sports & Media AG and $650m acquisition of the World Triathlon Corporation in 2015.
Founded in 2004 and headquartered in London, MP & Silva owns, manages and distributes television media rights and has operations in over 200 countries. It reports an annual turnover of $750m. In the second half of 2015 it sought to sell up to 40% of its equity stake for more than $1bn, and according to Riccardo Silva, MP & Silva’s Founder and Chairman, the company was approached by 13 funds with expressions of interest. Talks between MP & Silva and Chinese investors began in early March 2016.
Founded in 2007, Baofeng is China’s biggest online audio and video entertainment service provider. The company offers movie players, gaming websites, video download converters, and other network entertainment tools. The company reported RMB 20.97bn in market capitalization in 2015. Baofeng Technology announced its intention to enter the sports sector in May 2015, and plans to formally set up its sports media arm “Baofeng Sports” in June 2016.
The acquisition of MP & Silva will bring Baofeng access to sports and media distribution rights. However, as MP & Silva has distributed many of its media rights to TV stations and internet platforms, it remains uncertain how Baofeng will benefit from their TV and media distribution rights.