Rumor Mill: Action Network, VSiN Could Be Takeover Targets, Says Research Firm

Posted on: October 25, 2020, 09:05h. 

Last updated on: October 25, 2020, 09:52h.

Sports betting media properties The Action Network and the Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) are potential takeover targets, notes research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG).

VSiN for sale
Brent Musberger, second from left, hosts a VSiN radio broadcast in Las Vegas. The company and the Action Network could be for sale. (Image: Las Vegas Review Journal)

The California-based gaming research house says Action Network and VSiN “are being evaluated by potential acquirers,” adding that some gaming companies could be part of that fray. Those comments were made in the most recent edition of its bi-weekly EKG Line report, and specific operators were not identified by name.

Those rumors could be a result of reflexive tire-kicking (everyone is evaluating everything at this stage of the market),” according to EKG. “But they could also be indicative of an accelerated trend toward consolidation in the US online betting market, a consolidation that is increasingly looking like it will manifest both vertically and horizontally.”

The idea of gaming and media companies partnering isn’t new, as a slew of such deals have been struck this year. Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) got that ball rolling in January, paying $163 million in cash and stock for 36 percent of Barstool Sports. Australia’s PointsBet and NBC Sports later struck a $500 million accord, while Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) and DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) last month announced agreements with Disney’s ESPN unit.

Why It’s Important

Specific to Action Network, the spate of recent gaming/media arrangements is relevant for another reason. The company is backed by a group of well-known investors, some of whom may be looking to monetize their stakes in the betting blog.

For example, the Chernin Group (TCG), a California-based investment firm with a focus on media-related investments, formed the wagering media property in 2017, and was also a Barstool stakeholder, meaning it’s been down this road before.

Other investors include Fertitta Capital — an investment group controlled by the brothers of the same surname that run Red Rock Resorts — David Blitzer of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns a stake in the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils and the Chicago Cubs, and former Twitter COO/current SoFi CEO Anthony Noto.

New York-based Action Network last raised capital in early 2019, receiving $17.5 million in proceeds through a Series B funding round.

Don’t Forget VSiN

Co-founded by former sportscaster Brent Musberger and his son Todd, Las Vegas-based VSiN has its own roster of illustrious investors, including SeventySix Capital, a Philadelphia-based venture capital firm, and former Phillies star Ryan Howard.

Like some investors in Action Network, the monetization road is one SeventySix has previously traveled, having sold companies it invested in to some of the largest domestic technology enterprises.

VSiN could be alluring for a prospective buyer because it’s broadcast on Sirius XM satellite radio 24 hours per day, has relationships with South Point Casino and the new Circa Resort in Las Vegas, and a Colorado partnership with BetMGM.

“While the wisdom of betting operators owning betting media outlets is debatable, the existential need for customers will no doubt drive some operators to seriously consider buying assets that sit at the top of the acquisition funnel, especially as other acquisition channels get blocked by exclusive deals or become cost-prohibitive,” said EKG.