CMA begins probe of Flutter-Stars combination

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has begun its evaluation of the planned merger agreed by FTSE100 Flutter Entertainment Plc with Toronto TSX counterpart The Stars Group Inc.

Last October, Flutter and Stars Group governances agreed to terms on an all-share combination, seeking to create the outright global market leader operating across all online gambling verticals.

For the UK market, the combination will see Flutter’s flagship Betfair and Paddy Power properties merged with the Stars Group’s Sky Bet asset, in which the CMA will be tasked with evaluating the deal’s impact on ‘market competition dynamics’.

CMA governance has detailed that it will decide by 31 March whether to move the Flutter-Stars combination to its next stage of analysis, as Flutter governance maintains its deal schedule of securing its merger by Q3 2020.

The deal will face further scrutiny from Australian competition watchdogs, as the combination will see Flutter’s market-leading online bookmaker SportsBet AUS merge with the Stars Group’s BetEasy property.

Further negotiation terms have seen Flutter governance agree to a ‘£60 million termination clause’ should the merger fail to secure regulatory approval.

The stakes are high for Flutter governance, as the planned combination will lead to US wagering partnerships with Fox Sports, Fastball Holdings and Boyd Interactive – all dependent on the deal being completed.

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