Flutter Entertainment (OTC:PDYPY) will reportedly delay the highly anticipated spinoff of its FanDuel business until next year.
Earlier this year, the Betfair parent confirmed it’s mulling a public listing of FanDuel, as investors pressed the UK-based gaming company to unlock shareholder value. They urged the company to capitalize on elevated multiples being assigned to sports betting operators in the US.
Two months ago, Flutter announced the departure of FanDuel CEO Matt King, with the parent company saying at that time King leaving the firm would affect the timing of a share listing. However, Flutter said it would continue reviewing that option and did not get into specifics regarding timing.
King is expected to leave in the next few weeks, with Flutter aiming to have his successor in place by the fall.
Unidentified sources told The Telegraph that Flutter is planning to delay the FanDuel spin-off until 2022. The company has yet to make a formal announcement to that effect. But it’s possible legal wranglings with Fox Corp. (NASDAQ:FOXA) is also factoring into the decision to push back the initial public offering (IPO).
In late March, the media firm filed a suit against Flutter in New York’s Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS) regarding the pricing of an 18.6 percent slice of FanDuel it has rights to acquire. Flutter bought its initial stake in FanDuel three years ago, upping its ownership of the sports wagering outfit to 95 percent last December in a $4.175 billion deal with Fastball Holdings LLC.
Insiders at Fox believe that with the legal row ongoing, Flutter will not be able to float FanDuel — a claim that (CEO Peter) Jackson has denied,” according to The Telegraph.
While Flutter previously said it intends to honor Fox’s rights to acquire 18.6 percent of FanDuel, the seller wants to charge what it believes is fair market value, while the buyer wants pricing on terms with what was paid to Fastball.
It’s not yet known how much of FanDuel Flutter will sell to public investors. But sources told The Telegraph the transaction would value the sportsbook operator and daily fantasy sports (DFS) giant at $18 billion.
That’s reasonable on the basis of Flutter investors clamoring for a DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG)-type valuation. DraftKings, FanDuel’s nearest rival in the US, closed with a market capitalization of $19.35 billion on July 9.
However, there is wiggle room for FanDuel to potentially command a larger market value upon going public. Recent estimates indicate the company controls roughly half the US online sports wagering market, putting it ahead of DraftKings. There could be something to Flutter taking a restrained approach to the FanDuel spin-off, because shares of DraftKings are off 34 percent from the March highs and a slew of online gaming stocks are struggling.
Flutter, which also owns Paddy Power and PokerStars, controls 95 percent of FanDuel. Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming holds the other five percent.