News Corp further cuts Betr ties by selling shares

News Corp sold its shares in Australian sports betting start-up Betr, according to the Australian Financial Review, just four months after the operator’s launch.

The international media conglomerate reportedly offloaded its shares as it continues to distance itself from the sportsbook despite being an initial early investor and a 47% stakeholder in the project, which is headed by Matt Tripp and his TGW business.

Betr benefited from a total investment of AU$70m (€43m) from News Corp, one of two multinational mass media businesses owned by the Murdoch family alongside Fox Corporation, with additional investment coming from Las Vegas-based fund Tekkorp Capital.

Back in March, News Corp executives and representatives on the Betr board, Peter Blunden and Mark Reinke, stood down from their positions at the operator, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Media reports suggested that News Corp was growing concerned with Betr’s cash burn after it invested over $49m (€29m) over the six month period preceding March 2023.

In the months since, Betr has continued to spend large sums of money, notabling paying out what are apparently record numbers in customer winnings of $40m following the National Rugby League (NRL) final, which saw Penrith Panthers claim their fifth title.

Cash spend on Betr has apparently fueled concerns at News Corp around the future viability of its investment in the company. The firm’s 2022 financial report showed losses of around US$33m for the six months ending 31 December, attributed to ‘affiliates’.

Meanwhile, the fact that Betr has been the subject of the largest betting operator fine in New South Wales (NSW) history of AS$210,000 (€126,000) for breaching licence conditions around promotions and inducements may also have shaken News Corp’s confidence in the brand.

The development marks a further distancing between Rupert Murdoch’s news businesses – Murdoch, the founder of both News Corp and Fox, is due to step down as Chairman of the former this November – and gambling after Fox and Flutter Entertainment announced the closure of Fox Bet earlier this year.

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