Major news publications reported that Canada's very own Stars Group Inc. snapped up Sky Betting & Gaming in a deal valued at $4.7 billion. The deal was sealed last Saturday morning, after alleged weeks of negotiation and meetings.
Stars Group, a Toronto-based company, had just announced in the previous month that it had entered agreements to increase equity interest in CrownBet Holdings. This should then lead to the acquirement of William Hill Australia.
This latest deal will make Stars the “world's largest publicly listed online gaming company“, according to a press release from the company. As its Chief Executive Officer, Rafi Ashkenazi, told the media on Saturday:
The acquisition of Sky Betting and Gaming is a landmark moment in The Stars Group’s history
It would seem certainly so, given the influence and wealth that the SkyBet acquistion has now given the already powerful Stars Group.
The deal itself is a cash and stock type deal, which in total is worth $4.7 billion. SkyBet is owned by CVC Capital Partners, who previously had control over Formula One Motor Racing as well. CVC owns 80% of SkyBet, making it primary share-holder.
SkyBet is one of Britain's largest and fastest growing gaming providers and sportsbooks. Among others, it owns well-known brands such as Sky Vegas, Sky Casino and Sky Bingo. Its solid mobile-first approach to sports betting has given it an edge against other competitive British sporting brands.
Stars Group will be paying $3.6 billion in cash, and the rest of the $1.1 billion will be paid out in newly-issued stocks. Stars shares have sky-rocketed by 26% in 2018, and by 66% over the past 12 months.
Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO of Sky, stated that:
We are proud of what we have achieved from a standing start with Sky Betting & Gaming, crystallising over £1bn in value for shareholders
Sports-betting has seen increased levels of profit and interest world-wide, including in North America. The SkyBet acquisition bodes well for Stars, the core of which is largely poker gaming and poker tournaments. It will allow Stars Group to expand and venture into other potentially successful areas of online gaming, and props it up as a front-runner in the future of gambling.
For instance, these two deals will put Stars Group ahead of its competitor – GVC Holdings, which has been a constant champion of the industry in the past few years.
The deal is expected to be concluded sometime in the summer or fall, depending on any possible issues with regulation and other legal matters.
2018 is shaping up to be a year of great conquests for Stars Group (previously known as Amaya Gaming). Stay tuned for further updates on where it goes from here.