QMS Sport to acquire TLA Australia for $32.7m

After acknowledging preliminary discussions were underway at the end of 2018, QMS has announced its subsidiary, QMS Sport, has entered into an agreement to acquire the TLA Australia and UK businesses, including Stride Sports Management.

QMS Sport will pay $32.7m to acquire 100% of both the TLA and Stride businesses, with the plan to build the business into a global integrated sports platform.

QMS Media Group CEO and managing director, Barclay Nettlefold, said the acquisition formed the next step in the growth plan for the QMS Sport business.

“The TLA and Stride acquisitions represent the next step in the development of QMS Sport as a global integrated sports platform,” said Nettlefold.

“These acquisitions provide QMS Sport with an enhanced service offering that together creates a unique vertically integrated sports advertising platform; leveraging the strength of their respective strategic relationships with both domestic and international clubs, agencies and rights holders to broaden client service offerings and grow collective revenue streams.”

QMS anticipates that on a 12-month pro-forma basis, the TLA and Stride businesses will add a 2019 EBITDA of $6m to the business.

The acquisitions will be funded via approximately $12m through the sale of shares in QMS Sport to investors, with the remainder to be funded via a short-term loan, to be repaid in 2020. The addition of investors to QMS Sport has been flagged by the business as a means to further fund growth opportunities, with QMS actively looking for new ways to improve the business.

The acquisition comes as the Overseas Investment Office NZ (OIO) approved the merger between QMS NZ and Mediaworks NZ. The merger, which was announced in December 2018, will create the largest multi-media advertising group in New Zealand, and is expected to occur in the next 4-6 weeks.

Upon the completion of the merger, QMS anticipates a capital return of $35m, while holding a 40% share of the merged company. It’s these funds that will be used to repay the loan for the acquisition of TLA.

TLA is a talent management and sports marketing group, with 140 team members across several outposts, including the UK and Australia. Former Collingwood AFL player Craig Kelly is the co-founder of TLA and heads up the Australian arm of the business as CEO.

In December 2018, TLA Worldwide completed the sale of its US unit to GCM Sports Holdings for USD$5.9m, the proceeds of which were put towards reducing the company’s debt.

The QMS Sport acquisition is still subject to conditions including financing and shareholder approval, but is expected to be completed within 30 days.

“Our vision is to develop QMS Sport as a global integrated sports platform with digital sports technology, infrastructure, media rights, talent management and merchandise under one major sports offering, providing advertisers, sponsors and brands with a unique and powerful platform to engage with this highly valued sports audience,” said Nettlefold.

“The relationships TLA and Stride have with key sporting codes, clubs and talent will be beneficial in delivering new revenue streams both locally and internationally.”

TLA and Stride join TGI, StellaVista, Sportsmate and FanTribe under the QMS Sport umbrella.

Craig Kelly, CEO of TLA said: “We are thrilled to become a part of the QMS group, a business that shares our passion for sport and has a vision for a global sports platform to capitalise on the continued growth of the sector. Our new combined offering will make it easier for clients to access the highly engaged sporting fan like never before.”

The TLA and Stride acquisitions will broaden the offerings both domestically and internationally across QMS Sports’ business footprint. In Australia, it will provide QMS with greater exposure to sports such as AFL, and increased client activation and fan engagement capabilities. TLA and Stride will utilise QMS Media’s print capabilities, OOH advertising, activation rights, and mobile assets to support events and client activation.


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