LeSports seeks to allay market fears with third round of funding

File Photo:LeSports
IANS|15-Mar-2017 19:09

14 Mar 2017 : LeSports, the beleaguered sports arm of the big-spending Chinese technology giant LeEco, has launched a third round of funding, the proceeds of which will be used, it hopes, to allay rights-owners' concerns over payment of bills.

The Series B+ round is presently under way, although no financial target has been publicly revealed. 

A year ago, LeSports raised Yn8 billion ($1.16 billion) in Series B financing, having generated an initial Yn800 million in May 2015 when Wang Jianlin, the head of entertainment and property giant Wanda, and Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding, both invested.  

LeSports is using the Sportel America convention here in Miami this week to stress to clients that "money is coming in," one source told Sportcal.

Once the round of funding has closed, the company will take stock and assess which rights it wants to retain when they come up for renewal.

At the turn of the year, LeEco landed Yn16.8 billion in new investment, with 90 per cent of the funds coming from property developer Sunac China Holdings, albeit only a small proportion of that was directed to LeSports.

Chief operating officer Yu Hang left LeSports earlier this month amid the restructuring at the company. 

Last month, LeSports was dealt a significant financial and public relations blow when the Asian Football Confederation, the region's soccer body, awarded media rights to its competitions to China Sports Media after ripping up an agreement with LeSports. CSM was awarded rights in China to AFC events from 2017 to 2020 in a deal brokered by the Lagardère Sports agency.

Announcing the switch of rights owner, the AFC said that it had been left with “no alternative” but to terminate its four-year contra