'Mega merger' between Flutter and Sky Bet owner Stars given go-ahead

Simon Austin's picture

A gambling ‘mega-merger’ between Paddy Power owner Flutter and the owner of Leeds-based Sky Bet has been given the green light by the UK’s competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority cleared Flutter’s £10bn purchase of Canadian firm Stars following an investigation that started in February. Stars bought Sky Betting and Gaming for $4.7bn in April 2018.

The CMA decided that punters would not receive less favourable odds or less generous promotions as a result of the tie-up, because of strong competition in the betting market.

“The CMA therefore found that, while the merging companies compete closely, they are among a number of close competitors, and the merger will not worsen the offering to people who choose to bet online,” the watchdog said.

Flutter and Stars hope to achieve £140m of 'cost synergies' as a result of the deal, which is due to complete in the second quarter of 2020.

Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson said: “This morning’s announcement from the CMA marks a further important milestone in the process towards completion of our proposed combination with The Stars Group.

“We continue to work with the remaining international regulatory authorities to obtain the last of the outstanding approvals. Separately last week we published the necessary documentation ahead of the shareholder votes in April and we continue to make good progress in our post-completion planning.”