Flutter Entertainment given CMA go-ahead for The Stars Group acquisition

Flutter Entertainment, owner of Paddy Power Betfair, has been given the green light to move forward with its acquisition of The Stars Group (TSG)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has granted the deal ‘unconditional phase one clearance’. 

Should the M&A be completed as expected, it will create the world’s largest online betting and gaming operator. 

A big step forward

As part of the deal, the combined Flutter/TSG board will be made up of 15 directors until 31st December 2020. 

TSG’s Chief Executive Rafi Ashkenazi will become a consultant to Flutter. This is a shift from the previously-announced Chief Operating Officer role. 

Flutter Entertainment Chief Executive Peter Jackson expressed his delight at the deal moving closer to completion. 

Jackson also mentioned that the current challenges facing sports betting makes him even more determined to continue the Group’s growth. 

His words were as follows.

“In these challenging times, I am more-convinced-than-ever of the strategic fit of these two complementary businesses. The combined business will enjoy improved geographic and product diversification and allow us to advance our strategic goals.  

“I am delighted that Rafi has agreed to join the Flutter Board and to be available to me as a consultant, given his extensive knowledge of Stars’ international business.  

“We continue to work with various competition and antitrust authorities globally to secure the few remaining approvals required. We do so while never losing sight of our current primary objective to ensure the safety of our staff and customers during these unprecedented times.”

Flutter/Stars M&A a long time coming 

Flutter and Stars agreed a mega-merger deal in October 2019. Should all go to plan from now on, the two business’ combined revenues will be £3.8 billion. Moreover, at current share prices, the merged company would have a total market capitalisation of over £11 billion. 

Between October and now, TSG has been growing its global footprint. The company expanded into Michigan’s newly-regulated market in January, via a deal with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB Odawa)

Through the above partnership, both PokerStars and Fox Bet will be able to offer their services here – subject to obtaining a licence and regulatory approvals. 

The deal is expected to be finalised later this year. However, it’s yet to be seen if this plan will change due to the current global situation.