UK watchdog to investigate £10bn Flutter-Stars gambling deal

Flutter owns Paddy Power while Stars owns Sky Betting and Gaming

Brands controlled by Flutter and Stars make up about 40 per cent of the UK’s online sports betting market. Photograph: Inpho

Brands controlled by Flutter and Stars make up about 40 per cent of the UK’s online sports betting market. Photograph: Inpho

 

Competition authorities plan to review the £10 billion (€11.8 billion) merger between the two gambling groups Flutter, owner of Paddy Power, and Stars Group, which owns Sky Betting and Gaming.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said it would investigate whether the deal would result in a “substantial lessening of competition” in the UK gambling market.

The investigation follows the CMA’s controversial last-minute intervention into a merger between the food delivery platforms Just Eat and Takeaway. com, which forced the companies to reconsider the timetable for the deal.

An investigation into the deal between Flutter and Stars, which was announced in October, had been expected by some, given recent moves by the CMA to focus more on competition online.

Brands

Brands controlled by Flutter and Stars make up about 40 per cent of the UK’s online sports betting market. Analysts at Redburn estimated that the two companies control about 26 per cent of the overall online gambling market in the UK – close to the 25 per cent threshold over which the CMA takes an interest.

The deal is expected to close in the second or third quarter of this year depending on the CMA’s findings and, if successful, will create the largest online betting operator in the world by revenue. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020