Bridgepoint beats host of rivals to acquire Infront

European private equity firm Bridgepoint has acquired sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, after its bid of more than €550m trumped those from rivals.

Bridgepoint paid in excess of €550 million for Infront Sports & Media, a person close to the deal said. It is understood to have fought off competition from rival bidders thought to include the Qatar Investment Authority and an Abu Dhabi-backed sovereign fund. 

Bridgepoint acquired the company from investment firm Jacobs Holdings, Martin Steinmeyer and The Junkermann Group, a group owned by Monaco-based private investor Nicole Junkermann.  

Infront, which is based in Zug, Switzerland but has offices in 10 countries worldwide, has had involvement with large-scale sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and represents six out of the seven Olympic winter sports federations. Bridgepoint said in a statement that its experience in the sector included a current investment via another fund in Dorna, the global rights holder to the MotoGP Motorcycle World Championship, as well as previous investments in TV production which include UK Formula One producer All3Media, and Marathon Group in France, respectively sold in 2006 and 2007. 

Bridgepoint claimed the global sports rights market could be worth $121 billion in 2011, with the global market for media and sponsorship rights representing $56 billion. 

Bridgepoint financed the buyout using capital from its €4.8 billion Bridgepoint Europe IV Fund, which is just under 60 percent deployed following the deal according to a source close to the firm.

Leonardo & co, Deloitte, Value Partners, KPMG, Latham & Watkins, and Niederer Kraft & Frey advised Bridgepoint on the deal. Goldman and Nomura ran the sale process.  

Bridgepoint has had a busy summer. The firm successfully exited gym chain Virgin Active in August, selling its stake to peer CVC Partners in a deal valuing the company at about £880 million ($1.4 billion; €1 billion).