Playmaker Capital Inc. (TSX-V: PMKR) (“Playmaker”), the digital sports media company that delivers authentic content experiences through its portfolio of sports media brands, announced today that it has acquired La Poche Bleue (“LPB”), a Quebec-based sports media and entertainment group. With the acquisition of La Poche Bleue, Playmaker is planting its flag in Quebec by adding a robust portfolio of video-podcast series as well as a diversified and expanding line of branded lifestyle and consumer products. As part of the transaction, La Poche Bleue co-founders, Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse, and Managing Director, Louis-Philippe Dorais, will remain with the business to continue to lead its growth within Playmaker’s ecosystem of sports media and affiliate businesses.
La Poche Bleue is an established Quebec sports and entertainment brand that has cultivated a strong following in the province, a region of more than nine million residents and key to Playmaker’s growing presence in Canada. With the addition of La Poche Bleue, Playmaker will unlock a net-new audience and gain immediate access to a passionate sports market to round out its regional and national hockey coverage in time for the upcoming 2023-24 NHL season.
La Poche Bleue’s collection of video podcasts includes eight shows, served in both French- and English-language, focused on the Montreal Canadiens, NHL developments, NFL fantasy football, MLB storylines, Quebec lifestyle, and more. Among the series are La Poche Bleue hosted by former Montreal Canadiens Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse, and Game Over with former MLB pitcher and Cy Young winner Eric Gagne. In addition to its owned and operated channels, La Poche Bleue’s video-podcasts are widely distributed across Quebec. Streamed on digital platforms as well as syndicated across Quebec radio through a partnership with Cogeco Media, La Poche Bleue content engages millions of viewers and listeners daily.
La Poche Bleue immediately complements Playmaker’s Canadian sports media business, The Nation Network’s (“TNN”) suite of high-affinity web and social properties, including a top-ranked hockey fantasy website globally, Daily Faceoff, and its growing portfolio of video podcast shows. In June 2023, TNN’s collection of hockey, baseball and soccer shows generated more than two million streams across audio and video channels. La Poche Bleue’s flagship property, La Poche Bleue, produces weekly episodes and currently boasts 31,000 YouTube subscribers. Since its debut, La Poche Bleue has generated more than five million views – with an average view time of over 30-minutes – on YouTube, in addition to millions of views and downloads on other platforms including Facebook, Spotify and iTunes.
Additionally, La Poche Bleue’s line of lifestyle and consumer products is reflective of its authentic Quebec culture and highlights local businesses and community initiatives. The products are developed in collaboration with local partners and sold in stores throughout Quebec, providing numerous experiential touchpoints for La Poche Bleue fans to engage with the brand. La Poche Bleue currently sells a variety of branded spirits and ready-to-drink beverages in the SAQ, Quebec’s provincial liquor store, and numerous branded grocery items and beers at Couche-Tard, Metro and Provigo, Quebec’s province-wide grocery and convenience stores.
“We’ve made it very clear that establishing a meaningful and authentic presence in Quebec is core to our continued growth in North America,” said Jordan Gnat, Playmaker CEO. “La Poche Bleue is an incredible producer of sports content and consumer products with true fan affinity in Quebec. In addition, Maxim, Guillaume, and Louis-Philippe are consummate professionals with strong ties to the local community. Maxim and Guillaume are bonafide sports personalities who will continue to drive the brand’s entertaining and culturally relevant content offering. This marks a significant step in our North America expansion strategy and an exciting day for Playmaker as we add more great players to our team.”
“We’re very proud of the strong following that La Poche Bleue has cultivated over the past several years, and we’re excited to carry on our mission of developing and promoting Quebec products. We’re also thrilled about the opportunity to join the Playmaker team which will help us embark on this next phase of growth and expand Playmaker’s business into Quebec,” commented Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse.
Pursuant to the terms of a share purchase agreement dated August 8, 2023 (the “SPA”), Playmaker acquired 100% of La Poche Bleue for aggregate consideration of up to CAD$8.8 million. The purchase price consideration consisted of (i) a closing cash payment of CAD$2.25 million, (ii) the issuance of 1,666,667 Playmaker common shares (the “Playmaker Shares”) on closing, priced at CAD$0.75 per Playmaker Share, (iii) two separate earn-out payments of up to a maximum of CAD$5.0 million in the aggregate, payable to the sellers upon La Poche Bleue achieving certain EBITDA targets in each of the 12-month periods ending August 7, 2024 and August 7, 2025 (the “Earn-out Consideration”), and (iv) deferred cash payments of CAD$0.3 million, payable to the sellers over the first two years following closing. 70% of the Earn-out Consideration is payable in cash and 30% of the Earn-out Consideration is payable by the issuance of Playmaker common shares (the “Earn-out Shares”), subject to the terms of the SPA and the approval of the TSXV, and provided that the issue price of the Earn-out Shares (the “Issue Price”) is equal to the greater of (i) CAD$0.75 or (ii) the 20-day average volume-adjusted share price of the Earn-out Shares, provided that such Issue Price shall not be lower than the Market Price (as defined in TSXV Policy 1.1 – Interpretation) of the Playmaker common shares on the TSXV at close of trading on the date hereof.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This press release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, which reflects Playmaker’s current expectations regarding future events. The words “will”, “expects”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “plans”, “intends” and similar expressions are often intended to identify forward-looking information, although not all forward-looking information contains these identifying words. Specific forward-looking information contained in this press release includes, but is not limited to, statements relating to (i) the benefits expected to result from the acquisition of LPB by Playmaker, (ii) the future performance of LPB, including the achievement of certain EBITDA targets and its continued expansion and growth and (iii) other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Playmaker’s control, which could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those that are disclosed in or implied by such forward-looking information. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: changes in general economic, business and political conditions. Playmaker undertakes no obligation to update such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable law.