Paddy Power owner sees surge in share price amid bid speculation

Shares in Flutter climbed as much as 22% to €79.92 in Dublin

Last month, Flutter chief executive, Peter Jackson, said part of the group’s strategy was to buy companies with leading positions in regulated gambling markets

Last month, Flutter chief executive, Peter Jackson, said part of the group’s strategy was to buy companies with leading positions in regulated gambling markets

 

Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment said on Wednesday that it knew of “no material reason” for a surge in its shares prompted by speculation of a bid for the Irish bookmaking giant.

Shares in Flutter, which owns Paddy Power, Betfair, Sportsbet in Australia and a growing US operation, climbed as much as 22 per cent to €79.92 in Dublin and 20 per cent to 7,230 pence sterling in London.

News agencies such as Bloomberg said that speculation of a bid to buy the gambling group and de-list it from the stock exchange was behind the run on the shares that sent the price into a sharp climb.

However, Flutter said that it “could not see any material reason for the share price surge” when contacted following the move.

There is no indication that any potential buyer has been in talks with the Dublin-headquartered company, while the speculation about a bid named no suitor.

Bloomberg calculated that Flutter shares posted their steepest one-day gain since August 2015, while the number traded was triple the daily average over the last three months.

Rivals such as William Hill and GVC, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, also rose, but not to the same extent.

Industry watchers believe that the betting business is due for a further round of consolidation to follow Paddy Power’s merger with Betfair - which led to Flutter’s creation - and Ladbrokes’s pairing with old rival Coral.

Earlier this year, Flutter bought Adjarabet, the leading player in the eastern European republic of Georgia, and has been growing its US operations since a federal court ruling liberalised that market in 2018.

Last month, Flutter chief executive, Peter Jackson, said part of the group’s strategy was to buy companies with leading positions in regulated gambling markets. He estimated that the global sports betting business was worth €400 million.