PokerStars owner The Stars Group set for massive merger

Wednesday 2nd October 2019 7:32 am
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The Stars Group is set to merge with the owners of Paddy Power

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The owners of Isle of Man based PokerStars have agreed to merge with the owners of Paddy Power to create the world’s largest online betting firm with combined annual revenues of £3.8 billion.

Flutter - previously called Paddy Power Betfair - will own 54.6% of the merged firm, it emerged this morning.

Rafi Ashkenazi, chief executive of the Stars Group will become chief operating officer of the combined group.

He said the deal will ’position us strongly for the future in this rapidly evolving industry.’

The Stars Group owns PokerStars and around 400 people work for the huge gambling business at its headquarters Onchan Head, Isle of Man.

The new merged firm will be listed on the London Stock Exchange.The combined group will be incorporated, headquartered and domiciled in Dublin with a listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on Euronext Dublin.But a spokesman for the Stars Group said: 'The Stars Group is currently domiciled and headquartered in Toronto, while the IoM is the key operational centre for TSG.'Under the combined business we expect the IoM will remain an important operational hub for the foreseeable future.'Flutter chairman Gary McCann will become chairman of the combined group while Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson will head up the firm in the same role.

Flutter Entertainment confirmed it would combine with Nasdaq and Toronto-listed Stars Group, owner of PokerStars.

The merger is the latest in a series of deals as the gambling industry responds to the growing number of gamblers using online and mobile devices and the opportunity created by the relaxation of rules on sports betting in the United states.

The new merged group will also be boosted by the partnership in the US, recently created between the Stars Group and Fox Sports.PokerStars is the world's largest online poker site.The stars Group bolstered its British operations last year when it bought Sky Betting and Gaming.It also comes amid a period of unprecedented change in the global betting industry, which has seen a raft of deals in recent years amid the rise in online gaming and regulation crackdowns.If the deal is approved by shareholders of the two firms, it is expected to complete in the second or third quarter of next year.Following the transaction, Flutter said it will have customers in more than 100 international markets.

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