The Active Network, the big provider of sports-related technology, has just closed a huge, $80 million sixth round led by ESPN. Past backers participating in the round include Canaan Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners and Performance Equity Partners. The company, which is now raised $275 million since 1999. Funding will go towards building out its infrastructure and towards "appropriate acquisitions." Acquisitions are a key part of its strategy: Since 2007, it has acquired 11 companies, including Hy-Tek Sports Software, LaxPower, Cool Running and Golfbuzz. Its flagship site is Active.com a sports training and registration portal In addition to the online communities it runs, The Active Network provides marketing services and other technologies geared towards sports management. It's also worth noting that it's not just a sports company, as it offers services towards organizations like schools, campgrounds and governments.
There's no word on how profitable the company is, though it says it had revenue of $107 million in 2007. For ESPN (NYSE: DIS) it's the latest in a string of deals, including a number of acquisitions of smaller sports properties.
Rafat adds: The company filed for a $46 million IPO in 2004, but pulled it back due to what it called "unfavorable market conditions." Maybe this is finally the mezzanine round
By Joseph Weisenthal