Alibaba helps Suning Sports raise $600m, valuing it at over $1.5bn
Suning Sports, the sports unit of Chinese retailer Suning Holdings Group which owns Internazionale, the top Italian Serie A soccer club, has completed an A-series financing round, led by Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant which is also a top-tier ‘TOP’ Olympic Games sponsor, and investment bank Goldman Sachs.
The new financing round is reported to be worth $600 million, valuing Suning Sports at over $1.5 billion.
Alibaba is reported to have acted as a strategic investor in the financing round.
Suning is set to explore co-operation opportunities between its PPSports digital sports subsidiary and Alibaba’s own video platform Youku, which held the rights to stream the 2018 Fifa World Cup.
Suning has spent more than $1.6 billion acquiring exclusive streaming rights to top European soccer leagues, including a $700-million deal to show England’s Premier League on its PPTV streaming site from 2019-20 to 2021-22.
The fee represents an increase of nearly 12 times the current figure of $18 million per season paid by the Super Sports Media agency for the rights in China in its six-year agreement.
Suning has already begun preparations for a B-series financing.