Affiliate giant XLMedia acquired online US college football news publisher Saturday Football for a total consideration of $23.0m.
XLMedia agreed to pay $11.0m up front and the remaining $12.0m over three years, while the founders of Saturday Football will also receive $1.0m in long-term incentive shares of XLMedia.
Saturday Football founders Josh Gates, Kevin Duffey and Jonathan Cooper will be retained in the business and each given shares worth $333,333.33 each. The share awards will become fully vested on the fourth anniversary of the date of the grant.
The acquisition, XLMedia said, will allow it to access the US college football marketplace to complement its existing US sports betting vertical, supporting its strategy of increasing its presence high growth regulated markets.
XLMedia also said it would leverage Saturday Football’s key brand sponsorships and benefit from established social media, video and content production, and programmatic AdTech capabilities, creating cross marketing opportunities for the wider group.
The acquisition is the conversion of an existing agency partnership between XLMedia and Saturday Football, which, established in December 2020, saw the two parties generate a number of revenue opportunities.
Founded in 2014, Saturday Football operates two major college football media sites in the form of Saturdaydownsouth.com and Saturdaytradition.com, which cover the Southeastern Conference and Big 10 college sports conferences.
Combined, the two sites generate an audience of approximately 10m visits per month, while Saturday Football also employs approximately 10 full-time staff and 55 contractors.
“This transaction provides additional operation depth and reach to our sports footprint which we believe is fast becoming a significant growth driver for our business,” XLMedia chief executive Stuart Simms said.
“With the forthcoming US College Football season about to commence, the timing of this transaction couldn’t be better with our growing US presence ideally positioned to further support the team at Saturday Football Inc.”
The deal marks XLMedia’s latest acquisition, with the group in March having also acquired US-focused sportsbook review website Sports Betting Dime and it sports gaming and sports betting business CBWG Sports in December last year.
XLMedia’s head of North America Ken Dorward added: “We are thrilled to be delivering on XLMedia’s strategic vision for Americas sports and look forward to welcoming the Saturday Football Inc. team, who really complement our existing portfolio as we pursue this once in a generation US opportunity.”
XLMedia, which said it will fund the acquisition using existing cash reserves, added that it plans to publish a full update of its interim results on September 23.
In July, XLMedia forecast a year-on-year rise in revenue and adjusted earnings for the first half of its 2021 financial year, due to the performance of its personal finance and European sport sector and the impact of its recent US-facing acquisitions.