Perform teams up with Sporting News for U.S. push

LONDON (Reuters) - Digital rights company Perform has joined forces with the owner of historic U.S. media brand Sporting News to accelerate its expansion in the North American market.

Perform, floated in London two years ago, has built its business on buying up digital rights to major sports events and supplying clips or live content to groups like newspaper websites and bookmakers.

Sporting News was founded in 1886 as a print magazine and was known as 'The Bible of Baseball' until branching out into other sports in the 1960s. It switched to a digital only format at the end of last year.

Perform is setting up the new venture, to be based in New York, with American City Business Journals Inc (ACBJ), whose assets include the website. Perform will provide an initial $1.4 million (923 thousand pounds) for the venture, with ACBJ contributing $4.2 million of funding.

The British company will own 65 percent of the venture and has the right to buy out ACBJ's 35 percent share for $65 million until 2017, rising to a cost of $85 million from 2019.

"Perform Sporting News Limited is a fantastic opportunity to significantly scale and transform our business in the U.S. and Canada," said Oliver Slipper, joint CEO of Perform.

Slipper told Reuters that Perform was aiming for around $50 million of turnover in the U.S. and Canada next year. It first entered the region in 2009.

Perform shares dipped 0.4 percent to 480p by 10.07 a.m. British Time. They have risen from a 260p flotation price in April 2011, helped by a series of acquisitions.

(Reporting by Keith Weir, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)