Flutter-Stars approval a helpful guide for future deals, says gaming lawyer

By Tim Poole

The UK Competition and Markets Authority’s approval of the Flutter Entertainment – Stars Group merger would have surprised some analysts, according to David McLeish.

McLeish, partner at legal firm Wiggin, which acts on a number of deals within the gaming sector, features in the July/August edition of Gambling Insider magazine with analysis on gaming mergers and acquisitions.

In recent weeks, Evolution Gaming has neared the acquisition of NetEnt, while DraftKings completed its purchase of SBTech earlier this year; meanwhile, Eldorado Resorts is nearing final regulatory approval for its acquisition of Caesars Entertainment.

From a digital perspective, however, Flutter – Stars was the most significant merger in recent months, having completed in May.

And McLeish says the deal will prove a useful measure of future M&A, with many anticipating intervention from the UK Competition and Marks Authority.

The Wiggin partner tells Gambling Insider: “A key early focus on deals is around the competition aspects. For example, when Ladbrokes and Coral merged, they had to sell off a not-insubstantial number of shops, which ended up going to Betfred.

“The online gambling product-by-product analysis applied by UK Competition and Markets Authority on the Flutter-Stars deal (with Stars holding no retail interests) surprised some and will be a helpful guide for future deals in the online space – but you still have to look at it on a case-by-case basis.”

Flutter Entertinament’s shares are currently valued at £107.00 ($134.16), up from the end of last week, which saw stocks sit at £105.95 per share.


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