Daily fantasy sports sites FanDuel, DraftKings have eyed US sports betting market

Sources: Paddy Power Betfair Close To Acquiring Fantasy Sports Site FanDuel

Paddy Power Betfair FanDuel

Multiple sources indicated to Legal Sports Report that sports betting and gaming company Paddy Power Betfair is close to acquiring daily fantasy sports site FanDuel.

By Tuesday, PPB had confirmed the talks in a statement:
Paddy Power Betfair plc (“the Group”) notes the media speculation, and confirms it is in discussions regarding a potential combination of the Group’s US business and FanDuel to create a combined business to target the prospective US sports betting market. 

Discussions are ongoing and there is no certainty as to whether agreement will be reached, or as to the terms or timing of any transaction.

>A further announcement will be made as appropriate.
The news comes as the US Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on single-game wagering on Monday in the New Jersey sports betting case. It’s possible that decision triggered an escalation in talks that were already underway.

FanDuel CEO Matt King recently indicated that his company would be interested in getting into the sports betting space.

What we know so far on FanDuel and PPB: Not much

LSR has not determined if the deal has been consummated yet, or when it might be. Such clarification is not likely until a deal is actually announced by the two companies.

Details of the acquisition and the price PPB is offering are also unknown, but it appears likely to be below the $1 billion valuation that FanDuel once enjoyed. Competitor DraftKings will obviously be very interested in what the price will be. It would seem that the possibility of a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company reported earlier this year is now on the back burner.

Almost exactly a year ago, PPB acquired daily fantasy sports platform Draft for a deal that could be worth nearly $50 million.

Since then, it has dedicated tens of millions in marketing costs, assumed to be in part setting up PPB for entry into a potential regulated sports betting market in the US.

PPB already has an NJ online casino via its Betfair Casino brand and is clearly getting ready for sports betting there. PPB also owns TVG, an online horse betting site.

What’s in it for PPB?

Some possible reasons for the acquisition:

  • FanDuel would offer a database of millions of DFS players — some active, some not — that would seemingly be primed for conversion to a sports betting platform. PPB already has users from both TVG and Draft, but FanDuel offers a different demographic than the former and a larger base than the latter.
  • It gives PPB another method for acquisition of potential bettors in states that may legalize wagering in the near future via sports betting bills, or has already passed laws.
  • FanDuel is a brand with more recognition in the US than PPB, a largely European-facing company, currently enjoys with any of its current brands.
Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.