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Disney acquires 33% stake in video streaming company BAMTech for $1 billion

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BENGALURU: The Walt Disney Company (Disney) announced that it has acquired a thirty three percent stake in Direct-To-Consumer video streaming company BAMTech for $1 billion to be paid in two tranches. One instalment will be paid immediately and one will be paid in January 2017, with Disney having the option of acquiring a majority stake in the company. BAMTech was previously formed by Major League Baseball (MLB). As part of the transaction, BAMTech was separated from MLB’s broader digital business, MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM).

“Our investment in BAMTech gives us the technology infrastructure we need to quickly scale and monetize our streaming capabilities at ESPN and across our company,” said Disney chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger.

Commissioner of Baseball Robert D Manfred, Jr. said, “Every day the powerful partnership of technology and content becomes more important to consumers. We are excited to get to work with Disney and our longtime partners at ESPN in the important and ever-changing area of content distribution.”

“Bringing a multi-sport service directly to fans is an exciting opportunity that capitalizes on BAMTech’s premier digital distribution platform and continues ESPN’s heritage of embracing technology to create new ways to connect fans with sports,” said ESPN Disney Media Networks president and co-chair John Skipper. “As WatchESPN continues to grow and add value to the multichannel video subscription, this new service will be an outstanding complement.”

Disney’s investment in BAMTech will provide the latter capital to accelerate growth of its proprietary video-delivery platform, deliver greater flexibility to clients and develop new technologies and capabilities says a Disney release. BAMTech will become a key partner for Disney in the delivery and support of streaming video and other digital products from Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN, as well as its future digital initiatives.

BAMTech will also collaborate with ESPN to launch and distribute a new ESPN-branded multi-sport subscription streaming service in the future. The direct-to-consumer service will feature content provided by both BAMTech and ESPN, and include live regional, national and international sporting events. Current content on ESPN’s linear networks will not appear on the new subscription streaming service.

BAMTech is a player in direct-to-consumer streaming services, data analytics and commerce management with nearly 7.5 million total paid subscribers to its clients’ OTT products BAMTech’s roster of sports, news and entertainment clients includes HBO NOW, the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, the PGA TOUR, WWE Network and Ice Network (a digital platform for professional figure skating).

Following Disney’s acquisition of a stake in BAMTech, the National Hockey League received a minority interest in BAMTech, as the result of a previous agreement, says the Disney release.

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