Things Going From Bad to Worse for DraftKings as Law Firm Investigates GNOG Takeover

  • Monteverde & Associates is probing the potential merger for alleged securities law violations
  • Last week, Colossus Bets started a legal action alleging DraftKings infringed on its patents
  • Market Watch listed DraftKings among 60 stocks down 50% from their 2021 highs 
  • Three DraftKings directors last month bought over $2.6m in DKNG shares 
DraftKings apps on a smartphone
Does a slump in shares compound DraftKings’ festive season blues after it got hit with another legal challenge in a week, this time for its takeover of Golden Nugget Online Gaming? [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Securities law violations

A US class action law firm has announced it is investigating DraftKings’ acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming for the latter’s alleged violation of securities law.

Stock Market News took to Twitter December 4 to announce the investigation by the New York-headquartered mergers and acquisitions company, Monteverde & Associates:

A Monteverde & Associates press release announced that Juan Monteverde’s investigation would look at whether GNOG and its board “violated securities law and/or breached their fiduciary duties […] by failing to conduct a fair process.”

Under the terms of the agreement announced in August, GNOG shareholders will get 0.365 shares of DraftKings per share they own. The valuation of the all-stock deal at the time was approximately $1.56bn. A second aspect of the Monteverde’s probe will focus on whether “the transaction is properly valued.”

The investigation is likely the last thing DraftKings wants on its festive season table right now.

Suits and stock slumps

Only last week, London-based gambling firm Colossus Bets initiated a legal action alleging DraftKings infringed on seven of its patents relating to gaming and sports wagering products.

Having two separate law firms chasing after it compounds the negative, albeit misplaced, press DraftKings has been getting regarding its recent stock dip.

On November 29 via Twitter, Market Watch listed DraftKings among 60 stocks that had slumped 50% from their highs of the year:

While DraftKings enjoyed a 60% YoY increase in revenue on Q3 2020 of $213m, the 2021 figure was $24.9m shy of analyst projections.

DraftKings is also engaged in a battle of attrition with rival US sportsbooks for market share — fought via an advertising war singled out as an “unsustainable arms race” last week by the American Gambling Association. An escalation in operational costs and sales and marketing expenses during the quarter has contributed to DraftKings’ swallowing a $545m net loss.

In defense of it splashing serious cash to acquire customers, DraftKings is also spending big to expand its platform. The acquisition Monteverde & Associates is now investigating fits into the latter category, with DraftKings seeking to merge its sports wagering expertise with Golden Nugget’s casino know-how.

Minor bumps in the road?

The two legal challenges and slump in stocks, however, fail to mask the insider stock buys that have caught the attention of stock market experts. On November 16, DraftKings director and vice chair Harry E. Sloan purchased 50,000 DKNG shares for $2m. DraftKings directors Steven J. Murray and Woody Levin swiftly followed suit over the next three days, respectively buying 10,000 and 7,000 shares apiece for $366,600 and $260,000.

the first open-market purchases of stock by insiders since the sports betting giant went public

The trio’s moves represented the first open-market purchases of stock by insiders since the sports betting giant went public in April 2020.

The signs are there, stock market analysts posit, that DraftKings is planning something big. Coupled with the company’s bullish long-term vision, the recent setbacks could just be an annoying, but hardly threatening, fly up its nose.