Flutter Entertainment and Stars Group To Merge

Elouise Spencer - 03 October 2019

The gaming industry is on the verge of seeing history made. According to reports, Flutter Entertainment will acquire all the Stars Group’s shares in a merger that will create the world’s biggest online gambling and sports betting operator.

Flutter is the parent company of Paddy Power Betfair, and it owns Sportsbet in Australia as well as FanDuel, a brand with a fantasy sports focus. Its merger with the PokerStars owner will form a combined business that should see annual revenues of as much as US$4.7 billion. According to reports, the move will not only significantly increase the operator’s global footprint; it also will create a much more diversified offering. In addition to casino, Poker, and sports betting options, the operator also will be able to offer free gaming as well as fantasy sports options.

Flutter CEO, Peter Jackson said that merger will see top recreational brands, technology, and other products brought together in one impressive portfolio. He added that the merger would be of considerable benefit to shareholders.

Jackson, who is set to continue in his role after the merger is complete, added that the deal would enable to company to make large, sudden changes to its international operations. He explained that one of the most exciting of those is the opportunity to leverage on a media relationship with US brand, Fox Sports. The FanDuel brand is another opportunity for growth in the US market.  

Planned Management Movements

The merger will see the creation of a 14-person board. As noted, Jackson will remain in the position of CEO. Flutter financial chief Jonathan Hill also will retain his position, which will expand with the merger. The Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi will assume the role of chief operating officer.

Flutter chairperson Gary McGann will also see an expanded position. The Stars Group chair, Divyesh Gadhia, will assume a new role as deputy chairperson. Former Sky Betting and Gaming CEO, Richard Flint is to be appointed as a non-executive director.

According to Ashkenazi, his company went from being single Poker product operator to a global player with a diversified gaming and sports betting offering. He said the merger will enable the company to further improve its products.

Subject to Conditions

As excited as the companies are about the merger, it still is subject to certain conditions. One of those is approval by a minimum of 66% of the Stars Group shareholders. Flutter shareholders also must approve the deal. The earliest the merger could become a reality is the second quarter of 2020.

The merger also is subject to gambling and investment approvals in the UK and Ireland, the US and Canada, and Australia, as well as by the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Dublin, and the FCA.