08/24/2012 03:55 EDT

Rogers Score Media Buyout: Telecom Giant In Talks To Buy Sports Channel


UPDATE: The Globe and Mail reports that Rogers' purchase of The Score has been finalized, and will be announced after market close Friday. The paper does not give a dollar figure for the transaction.

TORONTO -- Shares of Score Media Inc. jumped nearly 47 per cent Friday following reports that the specialty TV sports broadcaster was in discussions to be purchased by Rogers Communications.

Score Media, which owns the Score Television Network, rose 49 cents to $1.54 on the Toronto Stock Exchange before its stock was halted pending news just before noon.

Media reports citing unnamed sources say Rogers is considering the acquisition.

Calls to chief executive John Levy's office were not immediately returned.

Score Media has been reportedly shopping around its assets for about a year, with some reports suggesting that Levy was hoping to sell for $200 million.

The Score runs third place among rival Canadian sports channels TSN and Rogers Sportsnet.

The sports network is well-known among sports fans for its mobile apps, which offer real-time scores and statistics. The company has credited its fast-growing mobile platform for much of the revenue growth it has seen in the past year.

Those prospects could be especially appealing to a company like Rogers, which owns a slate of television and radio stations, as well as a wireless division for smartphones, the devices that most commonly use apps.

Rogers has repeatedly said its strategy is to make as much content as possible available to viewers on screens of all sizes.

Last week, Rogers and rival BCE Inc. completed their $1.07-billion acquisition of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and its sports television channels.

At Score Media's annual meeting in January, Levy said he was optimistic about the future of the company's mobile apps.

"Our new businesses in the next three to five years we estimate to exceed revenue generated by television,'' he said at the time.

"The interesting thing about this growth is that 60 per cent of all this growth is coming from outside Canada, where no one's ever really heard of the Score TV network.''

Last year, the company acquired 20 per cent of NuLayer, the developer of its iPhone and iPad apps, in part of an effort to grow its mobile business.

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