Flutter secures Australian clearance for Stars Group merger

Flutter Entertainment Plc has received regulatory approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for its proposed merger with The Stars Group Inc.   

The Australian competition clearance means Flutter has cleared a significant hurdle in its pursuit of a merger with The Stars Group, which it hopes to push through by Q3 2020.

The ACCC had been forced to undertake a review of the Flutter-Stars combination to analyse market impacts of a tie-up between Flutter’s market-leading SportsBet AUS property and The Stars Group’s BetEasy sportsbook.

Following this ACCC clearance, Flutter will await the formal approval of its transaction by Australia’s ‘Foreign Investment Review Board’, who will decide whether to allow a merged Flutter-Stars enterprise to operate within Australian markets.  

Deal stakeholders will now turn their attention to the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) critical assessment of the Flutter-Stars merger, which began this February.

The CMA is evaluating the impact of Flutter’s Paddy Power and Betfair properties combining with Stars Group’s Sky Bet asset, which could see a new business entity take an estimated  40% of the UK’s online sports betting market share – significantly above the CMA’s 25% regulatory guidance.  

Stakes are high as Flutter governance pursues its $11 billion valued deal, which will lead the firm’s corporate expansion within the US – a market in which Flutter-Stars has already secured investment deals with FOX Sports and Boyd Interactive dependent on the deal going through.

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