Concerns are mounting on the future of Betr, as Australian news sources report growing rifts between the owners of the company.
Betr, which made its market debut during last year’s Spring Carnival, is a new Australian sportsbook venture led by Matthew Tripp’s TGW business, with the support of the Tekkorp Las Vegas fund and the Murdoch family’s News Corp media empire.
This morning, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) cited a regulatory filing which disclosed that News Corp executives Peter Blunden and Mark Reinke had ceased their board duties as of 9 March.
News Corp is reported to hold concerns on Betr cash burn since its launch, in which the Murdoch company has invested “$49m over the six months.”
The resignations follow an ASX announcement in February, which disclosed that a cash injection by Tripp’s TGW had diluted News Corp’s 47% stake in the business.
Of significance, News Corp 2022 corporate accounts showed losses of circa $US 33m for the six months to December 31, attributed to “affiliates”.
Betr’s long-term future has been questioned since News Corp’s latest results, in which CFO Susan Panuccio said she did not expect the multimillion-dollar equity loss caused by Betr to be the “run rate going forward”.
Reinke and Blunden’s departures coincide with Betr’s attempts to secure funding and acquire the Australian business of rival wagering group PointsBet.
This is Betr’s second try at a takeover of PointsBet, a transaction needed to build the firm’s new sportsbook platform. PointsBet confirmed talks with Betr about a potential acquisition, but sources said the firm has yet to secure the funds required for the deal, expected to be worth up to $250m.
Australian observers have detailed that negotiations are close to being finalised, but banks have been cautious to commit to a capital raise without News Corp’s involvement.
PointsBet has engaged in early-stage talks with several local stakeholders, including Tabcorp, and has engaged Melbourne-based corporate advisory firm Flagstaff Partners to advise on any potential acquisition.
PointsBet has not commented on the specifics of any discussions but has not ruled out a takeover, saying any buyout or takeover proposal would be considered based on merit and value for shareholders.
Betr maintains that it is in the process of finalising its new board to account for new investors, whilst News Corp stated that it does not speak on its investments.