Skybet Merger – Bookmaker News

Betfair- Paddy Power seeking takeover of Skybet

Bookmaker News

It is huge news when three of the UK’s biggest bookmakers agree a merger, especially one that will be worth £9.3bn if it is given the go-ahead.

Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment has agreed a deal to buy Canadian rival The Stars Group, owners of Skybet. The combined group will headquartered in Dublin and listed on the London Stock Exchange as well as on Euronext Dublin.

New HQ Planned For Dublin

The Stars Group took over Sky Betting & Gaming, which has its head office in Leeds, last year for £3.4bn. Skybet has more than 1,300 staff based in the West Yorkshire city but it is almost inevitable that some of those jobs will now be at risk if the new company is to be run from the Irish Republic. If the deal is approved by shareholders of the two firms, it is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of next year, though the merger may have to be referred to the UK’s Competition and Market Authority.

The proposed merger comes at a time unprecedented change in the global betting industry. The decision to combine Betfair and Paddy Power raised more than a few eyebrows but this deal would blow that one out of the water in terms of the size of the new group and also the implications for traditional rivals and there are already signs that regulators will need a lot of convincing that the merger is in the best interests of the betting market.

Is Betting Soon To Become Truly Global?

If Flutter’s proposal is approved, it would hand the firm a 40 per cent share of the UK gambling market.  That can’t be to the advantage of punters, especially the 13 million who are already registered with one company or the other. Flutter already owns leading brands in Australia in the shape of Sportsbet and in the United States through FanDuel. The Stars Group are a Canadian-based online betting and gaming group formerly known as Amaya. They tried to buy William Hill before Skybet but will now be involved in a battle with the UK government to turn bookmaking into a corporate venture from which few are likely to feel any worthwhile benefit.