LeEco’s sports subsidiary may have scored USD 1 billion in Series B funding

LeSports, the sports video streaming arm of LeEco, is rumoured to have amassed USD one billion in a round of Series B funding which would boost its valuation to USD four billion, the Tech channel of Sina news reported on Monday.

Sina news quoted an anonymous source who is close to the deal. The Chinese news portal said LeSports will announce the details of the fundraising next week.

The tech channel of Tencent News acquired documents that shows LeSports’ Series B funding was only about USD 500 million. It is yet to be verified.

LeSports completed Series A funding of RMB 800 million (USD 122 million) last May which brought the company’s valuation to USD 2.8 billion. Its first round of fundraising was split into Series A and Series A+. Series A was led by China’s largest commercial property company Dalian Wanda Group. Yunfeng Fund, Orica, Pusi Capital, along with seven other venture capital firms and individual investors invested in Series A+.

Since the last round of fundraising, LeSports has purchased the exclusive rights to broadcast the English Premier League in Hong Kong for three seasons from 2016 to 2019. The sports streaming site also obtained the naming rights of an iconic sports arena in Beijing, the main basketball venue for the 2008 Summer Olympics. The sports arena was renamed LeSports Center as of January 1.

LeSports’ most recently acquired the Chinese sports live-streaming platform Zhangyu.tv for USD 46 million in late January, after securing a three-year deal with Major League Baseball for broadcasting rights. LeSports also bought 56% of the shares of Soda Soccer, which provides soccer game analytics, for RMB 39.2 million.

LeSports was spun off in December 2014 from LeEco, formerly known as LeTV — a leading provider of video-streaming content in China. LeEco changed its name in January to reflect the company’s new business development and strategy including smart TVs, set-top boxes, smartphone manufacturing, VR headsets and content production and the internet finance and cloud computing sectors.

(Top photo from LeSports’ Weibo)

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