Rumors swirl over PointsBet bid
Takeover rumors, New Jersey October, Vegas GP, Flutter fundamentals, startup focus – Comparasino +More
PointsBet is the subject of renewed buyout gossip.
FanDuel reasserts supremacy in sports betting in New Jersey.
How was it for you? Las Vegas F1 analyst reaction.
Startup focus is new iCasino comparison site Comparasino.
Matt Tripp’s Betr is a potential buyer of the ‘rump’ PointsBet business in Australia.
You trip me up: A “subscale” PointsBet business in Australia and a ”very subscale“ Canadian arm is ripe for a takeover bid, which would likely be supported by shareholders, with Matt Tripp’s Australian Betr the most likely buyer, according to sources.
The source, who preferred not to be named, said “many anticipate PointsBet will be sold”, though they didn’t mention any specific timeline.
“If a bid was forthcoming, it would make strategic sense to me,” they added.
“Now it is a pretty small business and ultimately the value maximizing thing would be a sale.”
Technical note: The rumors were kicked off this week by the news from PointsBet that activist investor HG Vora, which controls over 10.5% of PointsBet’s shares, had undertaken a cash-settled equity swap with Nomura for its entire holding. However, It is thought the transaction is unrelated to the M&A rumors.
But, while this means HG Vora no longer controls the voting rights attached to the shares, it still has an economic interest in PointsBet.
Any sale would also be dependent on the view of the largest shareholder, Susquehanna, which bought a near 13% stake in the company in June 2022.
Goodbye to all that: PointsBet recently completed the sale of its US-facing business to Fanatics for $225m after giving up on its ambitions in the country. It is currently still in the process of returning capital to shareholders, with the first tranche of A$315m ($206.5m) distributed at the start of September.
Betr first made an approach to buy PointsBet’s Australian trading arm in December last year for up to A$250m.
In an interview with the Australian Financial Review in late September, Tripp said he was still “interested” in buying PointsBet.
“If they have interest in selling, then we’re still there,” he said at the time.
No news: Betr itself was the subject of some conjecture earlier this year when it appointed advisory firm Barrenjoey after original shareholder News Corp. said it wouldn’t provide any further funding.
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Earnings in brief: Scout Gaming’s revenues fell 5% SEK6.3m ($600k), driven by the fading away of B2C operators, down 47% to SEK1m. B2B, however, was up 15% to SEK5.4m. Adj. EBITDA losses almost halved to SEK5.9m.
Give him a Pulitzer: JP Morgan should win a prize for this headline.
Top Jimmy: Johnny Hartnett will step down from the post of CEO at Superbet as of mid-January and will be replaced by Jimmy Maymann, currently deputy chairman at the company. Harnett will remain as a non-executive director.
Superbet founder Sacha Dragic said the appointment of Maymann showed the company was continuing to “build and develop a long-term strategy of global expansion”.
It is thought Superbet is on course for an IPO potentially in 2024.
Kambi has appointed Anders Ström as chairman, effective immediately, replacing Lars Stugemo, who stepped down from the position after deciding not to seek re-election to the board.
Bragg Gaming has announced Lara Falzon is to quit her roles as president and chief operating officer of the business. Falzon will remain in both positions until 31 December this year.
Consultancy GMA has appointed Joe Sebok as an associate partner leading the executive placement and talent acquisition business unit.
By the numbers
New Jersey: FanDuel has reasserted itself at the head of the sports-betting market in October, claiming 62% of total GGR of $92m. vs. 17% for DraftKings, which led the market for the two previous months.
In iCasino, DraftKings led with 28% of GGR, which rose 13% to $167m, followed by BetMGM (21%) and FanDuel (20%).
🏈 FanDuel back in the game in New Jersey
Pennsylvania: In comparison, FanDuel lost its position at the head of the PA market as defined by NGR with 38% share vs. DraftKings’ 39%, while it also continued to lag its main competitor on iCasino with 23% vs. DraftKings’ 27%.
Total sports-betting NGR was up 19% YoY to $48.2m while iCasino rose 24% to $155m.
Analyst takes – Las Vegas F1
Chicanery: The team at Deutsche Bank said, as befits a race that twisted and turned its way around the Las Vegas Strip on Saturday night, the impact for the operators was “bifurcated”, with Strip operators “benefitting nicely” but businesses at the lower end and Strip-adjacent not firming up “as well as expected”.
The team suggested MGM and Caesars will enjoy an EBITDA boost that will exceed the previous 5%+ commentary.
A key caveat, however, will be the luck factor on the casino floor given the high amount of high-end credit play.
“Swings on the casino floor could hypothetically offset, or at the very least water down, the boosts in the hotel and F&B segments,” the team added.
Shunt: With F1 out of the way for this year, DB said investor attention will now shift to the Super Bowl being held in Las Vegas in February, the week prior to the Chinese New Year festivities.
More analyst takes
Flutter: While not immune to the headwinds affecting various geographies – in particular the UK & Ireland and Australia – the team at CBRE suggested the company is “making up for these drags with fundamental performance”. Specifically, with the first, they pointed out Flutter said it is growing at 11% vs. an essentially flat market.
In the US, the analysts noted FanDuel’s success in iCasino, which is growing at a clip, up 52% YoY.
They added that Flutter has a “significant pipeline” of iCasino product improvements in the works.
NeoGames: The ongoing situation in the Middle East is unlikely to have a material impact on the acquisition of Tel Aviv-based NeoGames’ by Aristocrat, suggested the team at Truist. The analysts reiterated that NeoGames doesn’t have any actual contracts or revenue sources in Israel, while the company has crisis management experience given it has an office in Kyiv.
Startup focus – Comparasino
Who, what, where and when: Launched in Oct23, Comparasino is an online casino comparison site focused on the UK market. Based in Leeds, it’s owned and operated by Ghostfoundry, which is run by former EGR editor Martyn Hannah and his wife Araminta Hannah, an experienced digital marketing specialist.
The company’s mission is simple, says Hannah, “to help players find online casinos that offer exactly what they’re looking for”.
This is done via a smart recommendation engine that matches player preferences with relevant brands in seconds. These matches are then saved in a dedicated portal for players to come back to.
Each time a new brand is added to the Comparasino site that matches their preferences, it’s dropped into their portal.
“For the player, this means less searching and more playing,” says Hannah.
Ghost town: Comparasino has been entirely funded through Ghostfoundry’s cash reserves.
Power to the people: “Comparasino is the first online casino comparison site that is truly on the side of the player,” claims Hannah. “We never tell players where to play, nor do we promote brands over others.”
Instead, the site puts the power in the hands of the player to find online casinos and bonuses that “hit their jackpot”.
“By matching players with casinos that offer exactly what they’re looking for, we can take satisfaction to the next level, which benefits the players as well as Comparasino and our casino partners,” Hannah explains.
Home is where the heart is: “We chose the UK as it’s our home market and one where we believe we can have a significant impact, despite the high level of competition we face.”
Hannah sees plenty of opportunity for a new brand with a fresh approach. “Ultimately, players don’t want to spend time trawling the internet for new casinos and the latest bonuses – they want to be playing, and we help them do that as quickly as possible.”
Comparasino the market: The company’s main focus over the next 12 months will be to drive brand awareness. This will include a comprehensive marketing strategy, starting in January.
“Patience is a virtue, but over the next 12 months we want to be taking players away from our more established rivals,” says Hannah.
“Beyond that, we have our sights firmly set on becoming the number one online casino comparison site in the UK.”
Growth company news
Fitzdares and Quantum Leap Solutions have launched The Racing App, a free-to-air UK and Irish horse racing news and content platform.
AI personalization and RG solutions provider Future Anthem has agreed a partnership with Betsson for the deployment of FA’s Amplifier AI.
Rivalry has released a standalone fantasy sports app designed for the 2023-24 NBA season, called Rivalry Ultimate Fan, in partnership with gamification provider Low6.
Pro League Network has announced a free-to-play platform called BrinxTV. It also said six-times Emmy Award winner John Brenkus has invested in the company and will advise on its upcoming studio expansion plans.
Brenkus joins Roger Ehrenberg’s Eberg Capital and NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett as investors in PLN.
Meanwhile, Alt Sports Data has announced a partnership with the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, becoming the sole distributor of sports-betting data for BKFC events.
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