Saturday, 24 August, 2019

Gambling platform Sky Bet sold in a £3.4 billion deal

Stars Group Sky Bet Gambling platform Sky Bet sold in a £3.4 billion deal
Shannon Reynolds | 23 April, 2018, 15:10

It had been expected that private equity firm CVC would list Sky Bet publicly later this year, but the acquisition by Stars Group creates the world's largest publicly-listed online gaming firm.

Sky Betting and Gaming, which is behind brands including Sky Vegas and Sky Casino, employs 1350 staff, with 80% of its operation based in Leeds.

"The acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming is a landmark moment in The Stars Group's history", said Rafi Ashkenazi, TSG's Chief Executive Officer. The shares have soared 26 percent in 2018 and 66 percent in the past 12 months.

The Stars Group, which recorded revenues up 13.6 per cent year-on-year of US$1.3bn (£0.93bn) in 2017, had under its former Amaya moniker formerly failed in a merger attempt with William Hill in October, 2016. The company expects to achieve $70-million in cost synergies.

It's likely a move to position the Stars Group for further entry into the prospective market for online gambling and sports wagering in the US. "We have had a fantastic last few years and would like to thank CVC and Sky for supporting us in becoming a leading online operator in the UK. We're excited about our future together". "The ability to offer two low-priced 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".

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Ashkenazi added, "Following this transaction, The Stars Group will have significantly enhanced scale and a highly-regarded global brand portfolio".

The deal, worth over $300m, saw CrownBet take over the 284,000 strong client base of William Hill - making them the clear No.3 in the Australian wagering landscape.

The remainder of the transaction will be payable via a 38 million "new common share issue", representing approximately 20% of the Stars Group's enlarged enterprise.

Ashkenazi signaled a year ago that he'd be on the hunt for targets as part of an effort to reduce Stars's reliance on the online-poker business.

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