The world’s largest online poker operator now has a new owner. The Stars Group, owner of PokerStars, has been acquired by Flutter Entertainment, owners of online gaming brands Paddy Power, FanDuel and BetFair, in a deal that creates the world’s largest online gaming company.
The all-share transaction sees Flutter wind up with 55% of the ownership of the combined group and TSG with 45%. The combined 2018 revenues of the two companies was $4.66 billion.
“This exciting combination will allow us to enhance and accelerate our existing strategy. In recent years, we have transformed TSG from a single product operator in poker to a diverse global leader with multiple product offerings across poker, gaming and sports betting,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, The Stars Group CEO. “The combination with Flutter will further enhance our company’s core strengths, and position us strongly for the future in this rapidly evolving industry. I’m delighted to be joining the Board of the Combined Group and to serve as its COO.”
As part of the transaction, Ashkenazi will be one of 14 members of the newly-formed board of directors and moves from TSG CEO to the COO of the combined group.
This isn’t the first mega-merger involving Paddy Power or PokerStars. In 2016, Paddy Power merged with BetFair to create Flutter Entertainment and in 2017 they acquired daily fantasy sports giant FanDuel. The US-facing opportunities that The Stars Group has is one of the reasons Flutter pursued this merger. The Stars Group acquired Sky Betting in 2018.
“The combination represents a great opportunity to deliver a step change in our presence in international markets and ensure we are ideally positioned to take advantage of the exciting opportunity in the US through a media relationship with FOX Sports as well as our development of US sports betting through Flutter’s FanDuel and TSG’s FOX Bet brands. We are committed to these two high-quality brands to drive the growth of the Combined Group in the US,” said Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter.
PokerStars currently operates only in New Jersey, but are expected to their Pennsylvania online poker product sometime this month. The FOX Bet sportsbook product, which is a rebranded offering of BetStars, the online sports betting offered by The Stars Group, is currently available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.