Sportsbet and BetEasy’s international owners will merge, in a move that could prompt a structural shake-up for Australia’s two largest online bookies.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Sportsbet’s owner Flutter Entertainment announced it had agreed to merge with BetEasy’s parent company The Stars Group as part of an all-share deal.
The agreement would create the world’s largest online betting firm, with combined annual revenues nudging £3.8 billion ($A7 billion) in 2018.
Dublin-based Flutter will be the combined firm’s majority owner with a 54.6 per cent stake, while Canada’s TSG will hang on to 45.4 per cent of shares.
The move puts further consolidation on the cards for the Australian gambling industry, after BetEasy launched out of CrownBet’s takeover of William Hill Australia last year and Tabcorp and Tatts merged in late 2017.
Sportsbet chief executive Barni Evans said the international tie-up would expand its “reach as a global leader in the rapidly changing wagering market”, but he didn’t touch on how the deal may impact operations.
“Locally, we’re excited about what Sportsbet and BetEasy can achieve through our great people and brands,” he said in a statement to AAP on Thursday.
“Right now we’re focused on delivering the best Spring Racing Carnival for our customers.”
Flutter flagged cost savings of £140 million ($A256 million) per annum if the deal goes through, along with potential revenue cross-sell in international markets and lower finance costs.
SportsBet and BetEasy, along with UK and Irish offerings Sky Bet, Paddy Power and Betfair, will give it “access to trusted brands with a sustainable base of highly recreational customers”, Flutter said.
The deal is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of 2020, subject to shareholder approval.