The Sunday Times has this weekend reported that the governances of Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) and The Stars Group Inc held mutual talks in late 2018, discussing a ground-breaking merger.
The two enterprises, which are competing to dominate global gambling’s new landscape disrupted by the repeal of US PASPA federal laws, multiple changes in European regulatory frameworks and the UK’s enforced FOBTs £2 wagering limit, are reported to have reviewed a potential £9 billion tie-up.
Both organisations have completed transformative 2018s, in which FTSE100 PPB merged its Betfair US division with its newly acquired FanDuel asset, moving to launch a new US-facing subsidiary.
Meanwhile, expanding its profile within an M&A crazed online gambling scene, Toronto TSX-listed The Stars Group Inc would act as the sector’s biggest spender, acquiring Sky Betting & Gaming (Sky Bet) for $4.7 billion, and the new Australian assets of Crownbet and William Hill AUS for a combined $650 million.
In its report, The Sunday Times states that discussions are no-longer taking place between parties and that any potential multi £ billion tie-up would have come under strict regulatory scrutiny assessing competition impacts.
Whilst both companies have neither confirmed or denied The Sunday Times report, the speculated merger discussions can be viewed as further evidence that 2019 will see a continuation of global gambling’s relentless M&A trend.