DraftKings Selling up to $1.15 Billion in Convertible Notes, Could Fund Deals

Posted on: March 15, 2021, 08:05h. 

Last updated on: July 5, 2021, 01:20h.

DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) said Monday it’s selling up to $1.15 billion worth of convertible debt. A portion of it could be used to fund acquisitions.

DraftKings convertible
Staffers at DraftKings Boston headquarters. The company is selling $1 billion in convertible bonds. (Image: Stephan Sovia/Associated Press)

The daily fantasy sports (DFS) provider and online sportsbook operator is offering $1 billion in convertible notes coming due in 2028. but underwriters of the transaction have a 13-day window in which they can purchase another $150 million worth of the bonds.

“The company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering (including any net proceeds from the sale of any additional Notes that may be sold should the initial purchasers exercise their option to purchase additional Notes) for working capital and general corporate purposes, which may include mergers and acquisitions and products or technology investments that DraftKings may identify in the future,” according to a statement issued by the Boston-based gaming firm.

The conversion and interest rates will be determined at a later date “by negotiations between DraftKings and the initial purchaser of the notes,” adds the company.

For DraftKings, Interesting Timing

DraftKings’ decision to issue convertible bonds is being publicized just days after the company’s investor day. It was an event at which it expressed interest in pursuing mergers and acquisitions.

At that event, the operator said it sees the combined US iGaming and sports betting market swelling to a value of $67 billion, assuming 100 percent legalization. DraftKings said it sees real money online casinos growing to $40 billion at full legalization, and some rivals are forecasting more rapid expansion for that segment than sports betting.

DraftKings became a publicly traded company last April with acquisition speculation heating up in recent weeks. While the operator hasn’t directly hinted at where it could pursue takeovers, it has been mentioned as a possible suitor for Canada’s Score Media & Gaming (NASDAQ:SCR), as well as several other smaller media and sports-related properties.

At the end of last year, DraftKings had $1.8 billion in cash, no debt and with its shares up 54.10 percent year-to-date, it could easily use a mix of cash and equity to finance a purchase.

Convertible Call

As noted above, the gaming company didn’t have any liabilities at the end of 2020, and today’s announcement regarding the convertible sale is its first debt sale. That means DraftKings’ first grades from major credit ratings agencies could be forthcoming.

However, that’s not guaranteed, as nearly 78 percent of the issues in the Bloomberg Barclays US Convertible Liquid Bond Index are not rated.

Convertible debt differs from traditional corporate bonds in that buyers of the former can eventually convert those bonds into shares of common equity of the issuing company. As such, these bonds have more equity-like traits than are found in other corners of the fixed income market.

Many convertible issuers also sell standard corporate debt and plenty have junk credit ratings. But the Bloomberg Barclays US Convertible Liquid Bond Index yields just 1.53 percent owing to the equity backing of convertible bonds.