Catapult loads up with $6m to buy out rival GPSports

Financial Review

Melbourne technology firm Catapult Sports has raised $6 million from high-net-worth individuals and investment funds to clinch a deal to buy its biggest rival, GP Sports.

Catapult, which sold a small stake this year to American billionaire Mark Cuban, will also use the funds to ramp up sales and marketing efforts in the US and Europe.

BRW Young Rich List member Stuart Marburg, co-founder of internet provider Netspace, is among the investors.

The capital raising, which was about two times oversubscribed, gives Catapult a valuation of about $35 million. Stockbroker Baillieu Holst advised on the deal.

Catapult specialises in GPS tracking equipment attached to sports players via a vest worn under their clothes.

GPS tracking of professional sportsmen and women is becoming increasingly important to sports scientists and coaches as a means of measuring player movement and fatigue during matches and at training.

They are capable of tracking everything – from the speed with which an athlete accelerates to changes within their heart – in order to improve game strategy and training programs.

The firm could consider an initial public offering on the Australian Securities Exchange later in the year to capitalise on its fast growth.

About 75 per cent of its revenue is now derived from the US, where it has signed a series of deals with elite professional and college sports teams.

Catapult could potentially also enter into a dual-listing structure on the Nasdaq exchange in the US.

Catapult chairman Adir Shiffman would not comment on a possible float.

“We have a range of different funding options that we are considering, in terms of how to grow the business to the next phase and how to handle the capital structure for that.”

The deal with GP Sports, first revealed in Street Talk Online last month, is for cash only.

GP Sports, whose clients include the Sydney Roosters NRL team and the NSW State of Origin squad, will keep a separate sales team and continue to service its existing client base.

“GP Sports has been a strong competitor and more recently [has] done a good job in also finding customers in those regions that have not been on Catapult’s radar, such as the Middle East,” Mr Shiffman said.