Competition watchdog to probe merger involving Sky Betting and Gaming

Simon Austin's picture

Flutter Entertainment, the owner of Betfair and Paddy Power, is being investigated by the UK's competition watchdog over its proposed merger with Sky Betting and Gaming owner The Stars Group.

Canadian company Stars bought Leeds-based Sky Betting and Gaming for $4.7bn in April 2018. The Competition and Markets Authority will assess whether Flutter's proposed merger with The Stars Group will cause a “substantial lessening of competition” within the gambling industry.

Parties involved in the deal have until 18th February to make their views known on the deal, with a final decision on the merger to be made at the end of March.

Dublin-based Flutter announced its intention to merge with TSG in October. If the deal goes ahead, it would create the world's largest online betting and gaming operator, with combined annual revenues of £3.8billion.

Flutter would own around 55% of the combined company, while TSG shareholders with own the rest. The firm's headquarters would be in Dublin and the majority of non-executive directors will be from Flutter.

It is not yet clear what effect the merger would have on Sky Betting and Gaming and its presence in Leeds. Toronto-based Stars also owns Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker and is worth more than $10billion. 

Flutter and Stars said the merger would enable them to make cost savings of £140m and enable Flutter to have its brands in more than 100 markets.

The deal follows a partnership announced in May between TSG and Fox Sports to provide sports betting to the US, while Flutter is already targeting America after buying US fantasy sports betting site FanDuel last year.