blue equity re-enters sports business

blue equity re-enters sports business

Release Date: November 16th, 2015
Client: BEST (Blue Entertainment Sports Television)


November 16, 2015

Blue Equity LLC has acquired Maxx Sports & Entertainment, re-entering the sports entertainment business after a five-year hiatus.

Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed in a Monday, Nov. 16, statement.

Maxx Sports is a New York sports broadcasting representation agency, with clients including current and retired athletes and entertainers who have moved into broadcasting. Its extensive portfolio includes former Major League Baseball player Raul Ibañez; former National Football League players Bart Scott, Lawrence Taylor and the brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber; former NFL executive Amy Trask; former National Hockey League player Jeremy Roenick; and boxer Mike Lee. The firm's clients, which also include announcer Dick Stockton and Yahoo! Sports analyst Brad Evans, serve as sports game announcers, analysts, interviewers and studio hosts.

Maxx Sports was established in 1995 as Maxximum Marketing and rebranded in 2008 under its current identity.

"There's so many outlets in broadcasting and cable that have such a thirst for content," Blue Equity chairman and managing director Jonathan Blue told The Deal, explaining the decision to relaunch the Louisville, Ky., firm's sports platform with a representation firm. "They all need analysts and broadcasters. We think it's a very good business."

Blue said he expected to leverage the Maxx acquisition into a broader platform of sports-based enterprises for his firm, though he couldn't disclose any upcoming transactions. The broadcasting operation of the platform will continue under the Maxx name for now, with president and principal Mark Lepselter continuing to serve in the leadership roles.

"We have a history of doing rollups," Blue said, pointing to his firm's aggregation of Spanish-language telephone directories business Sección Amarilla USA LLC, a joint venture with equity partner Telmex Internacional SAB de CV, and Enlace Spanish Yellow Pages. Blue Equity exited Sección Amarilla in 2009 by selling its stake to Telmex, and after building Enlace Spanish Yellow Pages from a single market to 32 markets, it sold the company to Telmex.

"We buy these companies and then build on them," Blue said. "It's certainly something we've done before."

Blue Equity had a prior platform in the sports entertainment business. With a spate of acquisitions, the company--ultimately named Blue Entertainment Sports Television, or Best--notched its signature transaction with the 2006 acquisition of the sports enterprises of SFX Entertainment Inc. (SFXE). It evolved into a representation, media, broadcasting, entertainment and marketing company.

Best owned, operated or held rights to televise a host of major sporting events, including the ATP tennis tour, the Boston Marathon and the Hoop It Up basketball competition. Best eventually represented 400 clients in sports and entertainment and owned, operated or televised 150 events a year.

On June 7, 2010, Blue Equity sold Best to the Lagardère Sports and Entertainment operation of European media giant Lagardère SCA. Terms of that transaction weren't disclosed.

As part of the sale, Blue Equity agreed to a five-year noncompete provision that prohibited it from engaging in sports enterprises.

"Now that such restrictive period has expired, Blue Equity is primed and ready to re-enter the sports and entertainment industry," the firm said in the statement Monday.

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