American media conglomerate Fox Corporation is reportedly considering whether to get involved in the Australian sportsbetting market by purchasing a portion of local land-based sportsbook operator Tabcorp Holdings Limited.
According to a Wednesday report from The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, the Los Angeles-headquartered firm has already held talks with unnamed investment funds regarding a move for the media and bookmaking divisions of Tabcorp Holdings Limited. The source detailed that the broadcaster has also recently filed for a local trademark for the FoxBet online sports wagering enterprise it established with The Stars Group Incorporated in 2019.
The newspaper detailed that this latter firm paid in the region of $171.58 million early last year so as to acquire an 80% stake in Australian sportsbetting firm BetEasy Proprietary Limited. It reported that Fox Corporation, which was born out of the 2019 acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox Incorporated by The Walt Disney Company, is now said to be pondering a similar move in possible alliance with antipodean bookmaking pioneer Matthew Tripp.
Fox Corporation is run by Lachlan Murdoch, who is the eldest son of controversial media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, and would reportedly face still competition for any such purchase as Tabcorp Holdings Limited is already rumored to be weighing up similar offers from British sportsbetting giant Entain and American private equity behemoth Apollo Global Management Incorporated. These propositions purportedly come as the Melbourne-based firm is under increasing investor pressure to abandon the Australian sports wagering market so as to be able to concentrate solely on its booming lotteries arm.
The Bloomberg news service previously reported that Tabcorp Holdings Limited merged with local rival Tatts Group Limited in 2017 and currently holds a local market share of around 57% courtesy of its estate of over 4,400 land-based sportsbooks spread across Australia. This source asserted that media and bookmaking is the Sydney-listed company’s second most lucrative branch after generating 40% of its revenues for the year to the end of June at approximately $3.98 billion.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Tripp, who is the former boss of Australian online sportsbetting trailblazers Sportsbet and later BetEasy Proprietary Limited, has been consistently linked with bids for at least a portion of Tabcorp Holdings Limited. However, the source explained that some of this interest may now have cooled as the 46-year-old recently made a personal investment of around $19 million in local online wagering and content services provider BetMakers Technology Group Limited.
The newspaper reported that any non-industry firm hoping to buy the media and bookmaking segments of Tabcorp Holdings Limited would possibly need to partner with an already-established player so as to ease regulatory approvals. It additionally predicted that this may prompt Fox Corporation to appeal to the Chairman of Racing News South Wales, Peter V’Landys, as he already has a relationship with Rupert Murdoch and would have the capability of vetoing any such acquisition.