DraftKings Set for April IPO Despite COVID-19

  • Company to go public on US Nasdaq Exchange through reverse merger
  • US Securities and Exchange Commission has approved registration statement
  • DraftKings signed $3.3bn three-way agreement with DEAC and SBTech in December
  • DEAC shareholders set to vote on merger deal on April 23
two business people shaking hands symbolizing agreement
DraftKings is still on track to have its IPO in April despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Plan going ahead

DraftKings Inc. is planning to proceed with going public on the US Nasdaq Exchange in April through a reverse merger. This is set to take place despite a global cancellation of major sporting events as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

going public on the US Nasdaq Exchange in April through a reverse merger

The chief financial officer of DraftKings, Jason Park, sent out an email discussing the latest step of the merger. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declared the company’s registration statement to be effective. Park said the approval “brings us another step closer to our goal of becoming a public company in April.”

Three-way agreement

The Boston-based sports betting and daily fantasy sports operator entered into a three-way agreement with the Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corporation (DEAC) and the gaming technology company SBTech in December 2019. The deal was valued at $3.3 billion. The DEAC shareholders are planning to vote on the merger at a special meeting on April 23.

The DEAC, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, had its own initial public offering (IPO) for DraftKings on the US Nasdaq exchange last May. It raised a total of $400 million.

Through the merger, DraftKings plans to be

the only vertically-integrated pure-play sports betting and online gaming company based in the United States.”

A turbulent time

Doubts about the ongoing sporting landscape and the financial markets amid the coronavirus crisis has not stopped DraftKings from proceeding with going public. It has already dealt with an obstacle with SBTech the past few weeks. The gaming technology company was subject to a suspected ransomware attack that caused it to shut down its servers for a number of days. 

The attack saw more than 50 of its global online gambling partners experiencing outages. As part of the merger deal, the DEAC instructed SBTech to set aside $30 million to pay for any compensation claims that result from the outages.