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PointsBet rejects US$153m offer from News Corp consortium

PointsBet has rejected an AU$220m (US$153.2m) offer for its Australian division from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and digital wagering pioneer Matthew Tripp.

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As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, the bookmaker’s board - led by former UBS banker Brett Paton - turned down a non-binding indicative offer from the News Corp Australia-led consortium around two weeks ago, with the offer not put to shareholders.

That is according to wagering industry sources, who spoke anonymously due to the confidential nature of the talks.

Along with his son Lachlan, Murdoch controls a multi-billion global media empire which includes the Fox News Channel in the US, the Foxtel pay-TV business in Australia, and a number of global and local newspapers such as The Australian.

But the family also has a small wagering presence through ownership of racing sites Racenet and Punters.com. They formalised a partnership with Tripp - who grew Sportsbet into Australia’s second-largest bookmaker and established BetEasy before selling it to Canadian company The Stars Group - earlier this year.

News Corp is still expected to launch an online wagering business at some stage in 2022, having already appointed former BetEasy boss Andrew Menz as its Chief Executive.

The PointsBet rejection is not expected to change the launch of the new company or its bookmaking licence, but it would have given the business scale, and means that it will not have a large customer base upon launch.

PointsBet Canada earlier this week announced a new partnership with golf club owner and operator ClubLink, following its entrance into the Ontario sports betting market in April.

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