888 Holdings, Flutter Favored Among UK Sports Betting Stocks

Posted on: September 29, 2021, 09:12h. 

Last updated on: September 29, 2021, 09:24h.

888 Holdings (OTC:EIHDF) is one of the sports betting stocks earning praise from research firm Investec, which favors the recently acquisitive gaming name over rival Entain Plc (OTC:GMVHY).

Sports Betting Stocks
888 is among the sports betting stocks favored by Investec. The company recently acquired William Hill’s non-US assets. (Image: The Sun)

In new coverage of 888, Investec rates the gaming company a “buy,” with a price target of almost $9, which implies upside of about 50 percent from the Sept. 28 close. Earlier this month, 888 said it’s paying $3 billion to acquire William Hill’s international assets from Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) — a deal that significantly expands the Gibraltar-based company’s sports betting footprint.

Investec analyst Roberta Ciaccia said that deal offers upside for 888 investors. It also highlights the operator’s small but potentially lucrative position in the US sports wagering market.

Earlier this year, the gaming company reached an agreement with Sports Illustrated owner Authentic Brands Group (ABG) to use the venerable sports journal’s name on sportsbooks. The SI Sportsbook just launched in Colorado, and 888 said it will be in Indiana, Iowa, and New Jersey over the next several months. The company is aiming to be in 15 states by 2024 and hopes to command at least a five percent share in each of those locations.

Investec Prefers 888 Over Entain

Coral and Ladbrokes owner Entain is at the center of major takeover talk with DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) recently floating a $22.4 billion cash and stock bid for the UK-based operator. But Investec’s Ciaccia argues much of the good news is already baked into Entain stock.

Our sum of the parts-based fundamental fair price is £24/share, not much higher than the current level. Pending any news on the DraftKings bid, we recommend that existing investors hold the shares,” said the analyst.

DraftKings has until Oct. 19 to make a formal offer for Entain. Conversely, he says 888 is attractive on valuation, as the name trades at just 10x Investec’s 2022 enterprise value/earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EV/EBITDA) forecast.

888’s acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets is slated to close in the first half of next year. The buyer has operated as an online-only company to this point, so it remains to be seen what it does with William Hill’s more than 1,400 brick-and-mortar UK betting shops. Should 888 decide to part with those assets to raise cash, it’s likely to find a group of eager, interested buyers.

Flutter Another Sports Betting Stock to Consider

Flutter Entertainment (OTC:PDYPY) is another UK sports betting stock liked by Investec. Acknowledging the shares aren’t cheap, Ciaccia rates the owner of the Betfair, PokerStars, and Sky Bet brands, among others, a “buy,” with a $254 price target.

The analyst says Flutter is the best-placed UK gaming company in the US. That status comes by way of Flutter owning 95 percent of FanDuel. FanDuel is the largest online sportsbook operator in the US, with Flutter recently saying it has a 45 percent share in the world’s fastest-growing sports wagering market.

As Ciaccia notes, Flutter has low leverage and a strong balance sheet. The case for the stock could be bolstered by the operator pursuing a spin-off of FanDuel at some point in 2022.