March 24, 2020
Florida- and New York-based FaceBank Group, Inc. — developer of hyper-realistic digital humans for use in artificial intelligence, entertainment, productivity and social media — is merging with OTT live TV streaming service fuboTV, which currently touts “more top Nielsen-ranked sports, news and entertainment channels for cord cutters than any other live platform.” The combined digital entertainment company, to be led by fuboTV CEO and co-founder David Gandler, will be named fuboTV, Inc. with plans to offer a premium viewing experience across a global distribution network.
According to the release: “The proposed merger is expected to create a leading digital entertainment company, combining fuboTV’s direct-to-consumer live TV streaming platform for cord cutters with FaceBank’s technology-driven IP in sports, movies and live performances.”
FuboTV will leverage FaceBank’s IP sharing relationships with celebrities and digital tech “to enhance its sports and entertainment offerings.” As the only virtual MVPD to stream in 4K, fuboTV is known for its innovation.
The merger also intends to continue fuboTV’s “global expansion with FaceBank’s Nexway AG, a global e-commerce and payment platform with a business presence in 180 countries, accepting payments in roughly 140 currencies.”
“In the SEC filing,” notes Variety, “Facebank said it obtained a secured revolving line of credit of $100 million for the benefit of fuboTV as an ‘inducement to the willingness of the fuboTV’ to enter into the merger agreement. Under the terms of the pact, Facebank will advance fuboTV a $10 million loan by April 1.”
“The business combination of FaceBank Group and fuboTV accelerates our ability to build a category defining company and supports our goal to provide consumers with a technology-driven cable TV replacement service for the whole family,” said Gandler of the merger. “In the current COVID-19 environment, stay-at-home stocks make perfect sense — we plan to accelerate our timing to uplist to a major exchange as soon as practicable.”
“The deal follows several other consolidations in online streaming and media, including Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Viacom’s purchase of pluto.tv and Fox Corp.’s acquisition of Tubi,” reports TechCrunch. “For smaller streamers, it’s difficult to keep up with the rising costs of programming amid competition from larger competitors, like Disney (Hulu’s majority owner) and Google (which runs YouTube TV).”