Fox Will Up FanDuel Stake as Flutter Forecasts Sizable US Growth

By | March 3, 2021

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corp. (NASDAQ:FOXA) will reportedly increase its position in Flutter Entertainment’s (OTC:PDYPY) FanDuel unit by as much as 20 percent this year. That’s as the Irish gaming company expects impressive growth for the sports wagering brand in the US.

Fox FanDuel
Fox boss Rupert Murdoch. His company is looking to increase its FanDuel exposure at the right time. (Image: Los Angeles Times)

The broadcaster and the gaming company have a relationship by way of Fox’s FOX Bet unit, which had a pact with The Stars Group (TSG). Flutter acquired TSG last year for $12.2 billion, creating the world’s largest online gaming company.

As part of that accord, the media company has the rights to own up to 18.5 percent of FanDuel by 2021, and can own up to half of TSG’s US business at a later date.

Fox could up its FanDuel position by as much as a fifth this year, reports The Brisbane Times. Murdoch’s media company is also one of Flutter’s biggest shareholders, with a 2.6 percent stake in the gaming company. Based on today’s exchange rates, that investment is worth almost $905 million.

Smart of Fox to Boost FanDuel Position

Talk that Fox will increase its FanDuel holdings comes as Flutter highlights rapid growth in the US.

Nowhere has our growth been more evident than in the US, where we have consolidated our number one position in this crucial market, with customer economics that continue to exceed our expectations, finishing the year as the first US online operator to reach over $1.1 billion in gross gaming revenue,” said Flutter CEO Peter Jackson on the company’s recent fourth-quarter earnings conference call.

Jackson added that FanDuel’s 2020 sales were “greater than the number two and number three players combined.” Those companies are DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) and BetMGM.

Fox raising its FanDuel exposure could prove wise for other reasons. Jackson said Flutter expects $20 billion in US revenue by 2025, double prior forecasts. Additionally, FOX Bet is scuffling in the US, where it’s barely a top 10 player in online sports betting.

Upside Potential Is Significant

Underscoring Fox’s prescience in raising its FanDuel exposure is the fact that some investors view that operator – not DraftKings – as the superior choice for playing the US sports wagering boom.

Additionally, some analysts say FanDuel is undervalued relative to its most direct rival, with Jefferies estimating the valuation gap is as wide as $6.95 billion, despite the Flutter unit holding more market share and generating more revenue than DraftKings.

“You have to believe that our business in America is more valuable than the DraftKings business. So there is some mismatch between the valuations of the businesses,” said Jackson.

With DraftKings stock up more than fourfold over the past year and sporting a market capitalization of $25.24 billion, there is chatter that Flutter could spin-off its US operations, including FanDuel and FOX Bet, to take advantage of favorable market conditions and unlock value for shareholders.

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