In the United Kingdom and competition authorities are reportedly launching a formal investigation into the planned merger of Irish sportsbetting giant Flutter Entertainment with Canadian compatriot The Stars Group Incorporated.
According to a report from the Financial Times newspaper, the Competition and Markets Authority declared that it intends to study whether the envisioned amalgamation would result in a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ in the gambling market of the United Kingdom.
London-listed Flutter Entertainment, which was known as Paddy Power Betfair until undergoing a May rebranding, is responsible for numerous online casino and sportsbetting domains including Betfair.com, PaddyPower.com and Adjarabet.com alongside an estate of over 600 betting shops spread across the United Kingdom and Ireland. It reportedly revealed a deal in October that is to see it hand over shares worth approximately $6.95 billion so as to acquire a 54.64% stake in The Stars Group Incorporated before merging its new partner’s operations into its existing business.
For its part and Toronto-headquartered The Stars Group Incorporated is the firm behind virtual iGaming brands such as PokerStars and FullTilt while it inked a $4.7 billion arrangement in 2018 that saw it purchase British rival Sky Betting and Gaming. Continuing its upward growth and the operator moreover finished last year by agreeing to pay some $103.21 million in order to complete its acquisition of Australian sportsbetting firm BetEasy Proprietary Limited, which runs the online sportsbetting platform at BetEasy.com.au.
The Financial Times reported that brands controlled by Flutter Entertainment and The Stars Group Incorporated currently account for approximately 40% of the online sportsbetting market in the United Kingdom. It cited research from business intelligence firm Redburn (Europe) Limited in detailing that the two firms control about 26% of Britain’s overall iGaming market, which is beyond the 25% threshold that usually prompts interest from the Competition and Markets Authority.
The newspaper reported that the pair had initially expected to finalize their merger by the end of September to create what would be the world’s largest online betting operator by revenue. However, it pronounced that this target may now be missed owing to the British investigation as well as the real possibility that Australian authorities could follow suit with analogous inquiry of their own.