Bloomberg sells sports analysis division to STATS

NEW YORK, Sept 4 Thu Sep 4, 2014 4:49pm EDT

NEW YORK, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Financial data and news provider Bloomberg LP sold its Bloomberg Sports analysis division to data firm STATS LLC, the companies said on Thursday, marking the end of Bloomberg's four-year foray into the world of athletic number crunching.

The companies declined to comment on terms, but a source close to the deal said the price was between $15 million and $20 million.

The deal is STATS' first since being purchased in June by Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm with about $13 billion in capital commitments.

STATS contacted Bloomberg Sports "immediately after the acquisition," said Bloomberg Sports President Bill Squadron, who will stay with the project and report to STATS Chief Executive Officer Gary Walrath. "From there, things moved very quickly."

The purchase allows STATS to apply Bloomberg Sports' quantitative models and algorithms to STATS' real-time and historical sports data. Squadron said the two companies see growth potential in the field of predictive modeling, which uses data to predict the results of matches.

"We've built a really strong team of mathematicians," Squadron said. "That's going to be a really big growth area, to drive it together and get there a lot quicker."

Bloomberg Sports was founded in 2010 and has grown to include about 30 analysts and engineers. The operation creates analytic tools that it sells to professional teams and leagues, as well as gamblers and fantasy sports players.

STATS, founded in 1981 and based in Northbrook, Illinois, provides scores, statistics, and fantasy sports services.

STATS Chief Executive Officer Gary Walrath said adding Bloomberg Sports' "talented team and compelling portfolio of products significantly bolsters our global strategy."

In the deal, STATS will also acquire a stake in Bloomberg Sports that IMG Worldwide acquired two years ago, paying an estimated $6 million to $8 million for about one-third of the venture.

Separately, Bloomberg said on Wednesday that founder and majority owner Michael Bloomberg would return to the company at the end of the year, replacing Daniel Doctoroff as the chief executive.

Bloomberg, which supplies financial data and news, competes with Thomson Reuters. (Reporting By Sam N. Adams; Editing by Alwyn Scott)