Buys out Fastball Holdings
Flutter Entertainment has announced that it is buying Fastball Holdings LLC’s entire stake in daily fantasy sports and sports betting leader FanDuel for $4.18bn. Fastball had held 37.2% of FanDuel; with the added stake, Flutter now owns 95% of the sports wagering company.
Flutter will pay half the purchase price in cash and half in stock, issuing about 11.7 million Flutter shares to Fastball.
The buyout indicates that Flutter Entertainment is committed to the expanding United States sports betting market for the long haul, having mostly been focused on Europe. For comparison, Caesars Entertainment agreed to acquire the entirety of William Hill for £2.9bn ($3.9bn) this fall. In Thursday’s announcement, Flutter said that the purchase improves its “flexibility to optimize US structure over time.”
our intention has always been to increase our stake in the business”
“Our intention has always been to increase our stake in the business and I’m delighted to be able to do so earlier than originally planned and at a discount to its closest peer,” said Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson.
Flutter’s stock price jumped on the news, eventually closing up 7% to £143 ($192.39).
Fox Corp in on the game
Flutter Entertainment is not the only company that will benefit from the FanDuel acquisition. Earlier this year, Flutter acquired The Stars Group, the parent company of PokerStars. Stars had previously forged a 25-year partnership with Fox Corporation to create the sports betting platform Fox Bet. The deal gave Fox a 4.99% stake in Stars, plus a massive option to buy half of Stars’ United States business.
When Flutter bought Stars, Fox ended up with 2.6% of Flutter. Flutter also gave Fox an option to acquire 18.5% of FanDuel in July 2021.
Peter Jackson said “we will be in dialogue with [Fox] to see whether they’re interested in pursuing it or not,” though it certainly sounds like Fox is interested.
signifies our long-term commitment to Flutter”
“Maintaining our ownership stake in Flutter signifies our long-term commitment to Flutter, and ongoing confidence in management’s ability to execute against the fast growing US opportunity,” said Fox executive chairman and chief executive Lachlan Murdoch.
Jackson added that Murdoch was the first person he told about the deal when it was developing.
Flutter has become a behemoth
Flutter Entertainment was originally created from the merger of European betting rivals Paddy Power and Betfair in 2015. In 2018, Paddy Power Betfair acquired FanDuel shortly after the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), opening the door for states to legalize sports betting. In early 2019, the company bought 51% of Georgian (the country) gaming company adjarabet, with the option to grab the rest within three years.
Shortly thereafter, Paddy Power Betfair rebranded to Flutter Entertainment. In the fall of 2019, Flutter announced its deal to buy The Stars Group for nearly $7bn, making it the world’s largest online gambling company.
In addition to the aforementioned brands, Flutter Entertainment owns sportsbet.com.au, horse racing broadcaster and online betting operator TVG, BetEasy, and Sky Betting and Gaming.