UK Looks at Flutter-Stars Merger

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority will investigate the proposed mega-merger between Flutter Entertainment and the Stars Group.

In October last year, Flutter, the parent company of Paddy Power Betfair, agreed a deal to acquire all shares in The Stars Group and merge with the PokerStars operator to form a combined business with annual revenue of £3.8bn (US$4.9bn).

At the time, Flutter said the agreement would create the largest online betting and gaming operator in the world, with the deal set to see Flutter shareholders own approximately 54.64 percent of shares in the business, with Stars Group shareholders having 45.36 percent.

The CMA will consider whether the merger would result in a “substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the U.K.” Any parties interested in the deal are invited to submit comments by February 18.

The merger also remains subject to various other closing conditions, including the approval of both Flutter and Stars Group shareholders, which is not expected until the second quarter of this year. The deal would require the support of at least 66 percent of the latter’s shareholders in order to proceed.

Other closing conditions include approval from the FCA, London Stock Exchange and Euronext Dublin, as well as the satisfaction of various merger controls, foreign investment and gaming-related approvals in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, the U.S. and Canada.

If the approvals come through, Flutter and The Stars Group hopes to complete the deal during the second or third quarter of 2020.

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