Sir Martin Broughton’s firm Sports Investment Partners has invested alongside MML Capital to buy events management company the Arena Group – the pair putting up £16.5m (€19.7m) between them.Arena Group provides seating, interiors and management for sporting, broadcast, music and live events and has bases in the UK, Portugal, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Dubai. Sports Investment Partners hopes to offer Broughton’s industry expertise – the British Airways chairman having overseen the sale of Liverpool to New England Sports Ventures for £300m in 2010. Broughton’s private equity firm narrowly lost out to Betfred in the hotly contested auction for former state-owned bookmaker the Tote last summer. The firm was tipped to take the Tote after receiving backing from the horse racing industry, but rival bidder Betfred walked away with the betting agency after agreeing to pay £265m (€298.2m). As well as Broughton, Sports Investment counts Matthew Wheeler as a managing partner. A former professional cricketer with Northants, Wheeler sits on the board of the Professional Cricket Association and has chaired six private equity-backed businesses in sports and media. Sport has held up well in the last three years while the economy has languished, with stable attendance and viewing figures, sponsorship deals and media rights contracts, while anticipation for the London 2012 Olympics is mounting. Read more from our sister title Real Deals.
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