Sky Bet to be sold for £3.4 billion

Sky Bet to be sold for £3.4 billion

The acquisition of Leeds-headquartered Sky Bet would make Stars the largest listed online gambling player in the world.

The news comes after weeks of talks in which the PokerStars operator has been closing in on Sky Bet, which is majority-owned by CVC Capital Partners, the private equity firm which used to control Formula One motor racing.

CVC, which holds 71% of Sky Bet’s shares, had been planning to float the gaming company for around £3bn.

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky plc, which owns Sky News, has a 20% stake in Sky Bet.

The remaining shares are held by Sky Bet's management, including Richard Flint, its current chief executive.

Rafi Ashkenazi, chief executive of Toronto-based The Stars Group, said: “The acquisition of Sky Betting and Gaming is a landmark moment in The Stars Group's history.

“SBG operates one of the world's fastest growing sportsbooks and is one of the United Kingdom's leading gaming providers.

“SBG's premier sports betting product is the ideal complement to our industry-leading poker platform.

“The ability to offer two low-cost acquisition channels of this magnitude provides The Stars Group with great growth potential and will significantly increase our ability to create winning moments for our customers.”

Stars said the deal would make it the biggest listed online gaming firm in the world as players in the sector look to consolidate their position.

Sky will receive about £425m in cash and 7.6 million newly issued shares, equivalent to approximately 3% of The Stars Group.

The company's chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, said: “We are proud of what we have achieved from a standing start with Sky Betting & Gaming, crystallising over £1bn in value for shareholders.

“The ability to create innovative products and successfully challenge for a share in completely new markets has become a pattern at Sky and gives us the continued confidence to open up new opportunities and invest for future growth.”

Published: 23 April 2018

Article by Chris Middleton
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