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Last fall, FanDuel CEO Matt King was not even an executive with the company.
Now, he’s poised to be at the forefront of the rollout of US sports betting, as he’s emerged as the leading candidate to head up Paddy Power Betfair’s US operations once the acquisition of the daily fantasy sports company is complete.
The deal for PPB to take over control of FanDuel is supposed to close in Q3, and it could be announced as soon as this week.
While the deal has been closing, the companies have been trying to sort out the structure and leadership of the new Betfair US. Other than FanDuel, PPB’s US operations also include horse betting site TVG, DFS app Draft and the Betfair New Jersey online casino.
The combined Betfair US-FanDuel entity also has sports betting deals in place with gaming facilities in three different states already: New York, New Jersey and West Virginia.
King’s ascendence to head of Betfair’s US operations would mean current Betfair US CEO Kip Levin would be out of that role, if and when it comes to fruition.
It would be an interesting decision to take the head of a company that had lost its dominant position in the US DFS market, and put him in charge of PPB’s sports betting rollout. FanDuel had long ago ceded the No. 1 spot to DraftKings, in a period when King was the company’s chief financial officer. (In between King’s FanDuel stints, he was an equity partner at Cottingham & Butler.)
But King came in to replace former FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles in a move many saw as positioning the company for a sale. Now, he could be seen as the right person to roll up sports betting deals and partnerships in the US market.
Both PPB CEO Peter Jackson and King formerly worked at consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
In any event, installing the FanDuel CEO as head of Betfair’s US operations seems to be a clear signal that FanDuel is going to be given the reins on the sports betting rollout, with support from PPB with money and the platform. Previously, it was thought that Betfair was mostly acquiring FanDuel for its brand value in the US, but this would change the script a bit.
DraftKings is also in the middle of raising another round of funding, something it likely needs badly to compete with not only the resurgent FanDuel but a host of other companies that want to serve the US sports betting market.