The Stars Group to Acquire Sky Betting & Gaming

Business News

The Stars Group said on Saturday it had agreed to buy Sky Betting and Gaming from owners CVC Capital Partners and Sky PLC, in a deal worth $4.7 billion.

It had been expected that private equity firm CVC, 80 percent owner of the online betting site Sky Bet, would list the company publicly. In February, Reuters reported that CVC had picked investment banks to lead an initial public offering.

Sky Bet’s portfolio includes brands such as Sky Vegas, Sky Casino and Sky Bingo, as well as the odds comparison site Oddschecker.

Employing 1200 people and headquartered in Leeds, it saw a 38% increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in 2017 to £146m.

Those growth figures provided a strong basis for a London stock market listing that was being planned for later this year.

But on Saturday The Stars Group announced a deal that it said would create the world’s largest publicly-listed online gaming firm. “The acquisition of Sky Betting and Gaming is a landmark moment in The Stars Group’s history,” its chief executive officer Rafi Ashkenazi said.

The deal comprises $3.6 billion in cash and the rest in newly-issued shares, the Toronto-based group said.

British media company Sky said it would receive around 425 million pounds ($595 million) in cash, as well as shares worth around 145 million pounds, in exchange for its 20 percent stake in Sky Bet. ($1 = 0.7140 pounds).

It was unclear this weekend whether any rival gambling firms were contemplating a counterbid.