Sports artificial intelligence specialist STATS LLC has struck up a new partnership with sports content provider Perform as part of a transaction facilitated by investment from Vista Equity Partners. DAZN Group, Perform’s owner, will receive a combination of cash and a significant minority stake in the newly formed company. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Under the terms of the alliance, US-based STATS and European-based Perform will combine the former’s expertise in artificial intelligence with both companies’ rich historical archives to create a deep pool of sports data “…primed to be unlocked by AI”.

A statement issued by Perform, noted: “Pairing the deepest, most granular data with leading AI solutions will accelerate innovation by generating machine learning predictions to improve team performance and player evaluation, automating natural language insights to enrich storytelling for broadcasters and sports technology, and forming new data to provide sportsbooks with boundless player props and precise projections of sports outcomes.

“These innovations will be the foundation of the future strategy of the new entity, extending across all of STATS and Perform, including Opta, RunningBall and Watch&Bet, allowing rights-holders, leagues, media, and gaming partners to derive the most value and develop the richest experiences for billions of fans.”

STATS CEO Carl Mergele explained: “Bringing Perform into the fold will create the most advanced artificial intelligence company in sports, providing deeper, more robust data and insights, which is essential to our global partners. Not only will we be able to improve our offerings to existing customers, we now have the opportunity to expand our presence in global markets where Perform has paved inroads for years as a leader in digital sports content.”

DAZN Group CEO Simon Denyer heralded the collaboration. “It’s great to welcome a new era for all our content products, B2B partners, and Perform colleagues,” he said. “Over 12 years we created a leading global portfolio of content and clients, but the combination of STATS and Perform takes the service to a new level of potential for everyone. While we will continue as an active minority shareholder in the new business, this deal also allows the group to focus on DAZN, into which we will invest all net proceeds from the deal.”

Len Blavatnik, Chairman of Access Industries, DAZN Group’s majority shareholder, added: “The combination of STATS and Perform creates a powerful opportunity as the experience of sports for consumers continues to evolve. We look forward to working with the new business and with Vista, as we remain focused on fully maximizing DAZN’s potential.”

“STATS and Perform are two exceptional, highly complementary companies with extensive backgrounds as industry innovators that will deliver superior products to customers as one combined entity,” said Robert F Smith, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. “We are pleased to welcome the Perform team into the Vista family and look forward to the groundbreaking technological advances in sports that will result from this unique and exciting combination.”