Online sports gambling just scored its first mega-deal in the US.
New York-based daily fantasy sports sites Fanduel declared Wednesday an acquisition by European gambling heavyweight Paddy Power Betfair.
Just a week after the US Supreme Court cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting, Betfair said it will combine its American business with Fanduel’s in a deal that values the merged businesses at more than $1 billion.
Under the agreement, Betfair will take a 61 % stake in the combined business, with the option to take 100 % in five years.
Betfair will be contributing its existing assets, as well as $158 million in cash to pay down Fanduel’s existing debt of $76 million.
Fanduel currently has a 40 % chunk of the American daily fantasy sports pie, and has more than 7 million registered users.
“Fanduel and Betfair … are prepared to lead the charge into the US sports betting market,” Fanduel CEO Matt King said in a statement.
“The combination of our brands and team … will allow us to create the leading gaming destination for sports fans everywhere,” he added.
The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 last week to legalize sports betting, ending a years-long battle between New Jersey and the four major sports leagues — MLB, the NBA, the NHL and the NFL, each hell-bent on stopping sports gambling from expanding essentially beyond Nevada.
“Just as Congress lacks the power to order a state legislature not to enact a law authorizing sports gambling, it may not order a state legislature to refrain from enacting a law licensing sports gambling,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion.