Flutter Entertainment and The Stars Group Announce Merger

  • Flutter and TSG announce cash-free deal to consolidate complimentary brand families
  • Expanding US legalized sports betting market presented as key element of deal
  • Combined entity to be headquartered in Ireland, with Flutter execs retaining most senior positions
Merger and Acquisition book on a desk.
Flutter Entertainment and The Stars Group have announced one of the gambling industry’s largest-ever mergers after agreeing to a cash-free deal. [Image: Shutterstock]

Gambling giants set to merge

Ireland’s Flutter Entertainment and Canada’s The Stars Group (TSG) have jointly announced a merger that is expected to form the world’s largest online betting group.

The all-shares deal announced by the parent companies of Paddy Power Betfair and PokerStars continues the recent trend of major corporate consolidations within the gambling industry.

The deal will give existing Flutter shareholders roughly 54.64 percent of the combined company, which on a pro-forma basis accounted for £3.8 billion ($4.67 billion) in combined revenue in 2018. Existing TSG shareholders will own the remaining 45.36 percent. TSG shareholders will receive 0.2253 shares of Flutter for each TSG share owned.

The new entity will be headquartered in Dublin and will be traded on the London Stock Exchange. Flutter’s share price jumped sharply on the news, while other gambling stocks gained ground as well.

The new entity’s name has yet to be finalized and is referred to as the “Combined Group” in the merger announcement.

Complimentary markets and products

Executives from both firms cited the two companies’ complimentary products and market presences as a key factor in the deal.

Flutter’s traditional focus, as Paddy Power, remains a live-and-online sports betting operator. PokerStars, in contrast, has been the world’s largest online poker operator for 13 years.

TSG also has a newly inked deal with FOX Sports that promises a huge boost in brand presence

Both sides have also expanded into markets such as online casino, while TSG’s BetStars brand is a growing sports betting company. TSG also has a newly inked deal with FOX Sports that promises a huge boost in brand presence.

Growing US sports betting key

The continuing expansion of the legalized US online sports betting market is part of The Stars Group’s allure for Flutter. When added to Flutter’s other global offerings, including FanDuel, the new combined company hopes for a dominant market role on multiple continents.

Flutter CEO Peter Jackson said: “The combination represents a great opportunity to deliver a step change in our presence in international markets and ensure we are ideally positioned to take advantage of the exciting opportunity in the US through a media relationship with FOX Sports as well as our development of US sports betting through Flutter’s FanDuel and TSG’s FOX Bet brands.”

We are committed to these two high quality brands to drive the growth of the Combined Group in the US.”

“The combination will turbocharge our existing strategy and provide world-class capabilities across sports betting, gaming, daily fantasy sports and poker, as well as greater geographical and product diversification. We believe the combination of Flutter and TSG will deliver substantial value for shareholders.”

Flutter’s existing executives will largely remain in place, while prominent The Stars Group officials will move across to slightly lessened roles. Current TSG Executive Chairman Dave Gadhia will be the Combined Group’s deputy chair. Current TSG CEO Rafi Ashkenazi will become the Combined Group’s COO.