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   Technology StocksDraftKings, Inc. / Online Gambling


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From: Glenn Petersen8/20/2021 5:50:26 AM
   of 239
 
Fanatics does not currently have an online gaming presence, though it is rumored to have an interest.

With a Frenzy of Deals, Fanatics Swoops In to Reorder the Trading-Card World

The sports-merchandise retailer’s deals with players in baseball, basketball and football overturn decades-long arrangements with dominant icons like Topps Co.

By Jared Diamond and Andrew Beaton
Bloomberg
Updated Aug. 19, 2021 5:36 pm ET



Topps has been the premier baseball-card manufacturer since the early 1950s. PHOTO: JOHN J. KIM/CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TNS/ZUMA PRESS
---------------------------

In a sweeping reordering of the trading-card universe, unions representing players in Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Football League have struck exclusive agreements with a new company controlled by online sports-merchandise retailer Fanatics Inc., people familiar with the matter said.

The deals break the grip that incumbent icon Topps Co. has held on the baseball-card market since the 1950s. The basketball and football players had deals with Panini America, Inc.

All three unions—the MLBPA, NBPA and NFLPA—will have stakes in the entity that will now have control of the most lucrative sports trading card assets in the country. MLB and the NBA have also struck deals with the new business and will also have a stake.By Jared Diamond and Andrew Beaton
Bloomberg
Updated Aug. 19, 2021 5:36 pm ET

Topps and Panini did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The MLBPA deal begins in 2023. MLB’s current agreement with Topps runs through 2025. The NBA and NFL unions’ deals run through 2025 and 2026, respectively.

In a memo sent to baseball players Thursday, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that his union’s deal is more than 10 times bigger than any deal the union has ever struck. He added that it is part of a series of recent deals that will generate nearly $2 billion through 2045.

The deals figure to have a major impact on the fortunes of an old stalwart of the sports business, Topps, and a newer one that is charging deeper into it, Fanatics. The players and leagues plan to leverage the same expertise that has turned Fanatics into the go-to online retailer of sports gear into a business that makes trading cards more accessible to everyday fans.

Topps, the longtime incumbent in baseball, is in the process of going public through a combination with a special-purpose acquisition company. That deal, with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp. II, valued the combined entity at about $1.16 billion, the companies said when they announced the deal in April. Topps released its second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, announcing that sales had increased by 78% and raising its outlook for the year.

Fanatics, meanwhile, has emerged as one of the most aggressive forces in sports merchandising. Its founder, and executive chairman, Michael Rubin, is also the co-owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. The company has partnered with virtually every major North American professional sports league for merchandising sales and lately has signaled its intent to enter areas such as ticketing and online betting.

Fanatics is currently valued at at $18 billion following a new funding round, the Journal reported earlier this month, roughly tripling its valuation from a year ago as it works to expand into new business lines. Rubin will helm the new company.

Topps has been the premier baseball-card manufacturer since the early 1950s, originally packaging the cards with bubble gum. Its 1952 Mickey Mantle card is one of the most iconic and expensive cards ever produced, with one selling for $5.2 million earlier this year. The company remains synonymous with baseball cards to this day.

More recently, baseball cards have exploded in popularity, particularly during the pandemic, when national lockdowns and the hiatus of live sports sent people digging through their attics and basements in search of old cards.

Topps is currently co-owned by the Tornante Company and private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners, and its chairman is former Walt Disney Co. chief executive Michael Eisner.

Topps’ dominant position in the baseball business is the result of two separate licensing deals: one with Major League Baseball, which allows Topps to use team logos and trademarks on its cards; and the other with the union, which enables it to use player images.

The combination of the deals allows Topps to produce cards with, for example, Fernando Tatís Jr. wearing his San Diego Padres uniform. (The MLBPA currently has another licensing deal with Panini, which allows the use of player likenesses but not team logos.)



Fanatics founder Michael Rubin is also the co-owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. PHOTO: ALEX TRAUTWIG/MLB/GETTY IMAGES
----------------------------

Topps paid the MLBPA $20.4 million last year, the most of any MLBPA licensee, according to the union’s annual report to the U.S. Department of Labor. The NFLPA earned $24.2 million from Panini, according to its latest filing.

But now Topps is losing a major partner in MLB and the MLBPA, making its future in the baseball card arena unclear.

The rest of the sports card market is divided up between other players. Panini has exclusive licenses with the NFL and the NBA and their unions, while Upper Deck has an exclusive deal with the NHL and the National Hockey League Players Association.

In his memo, Clark added that players should “continue to honor their commitments and perform any obligations they may have under any valid, extant agreements with Topps and Panini” in the interim.

The NFL, unlike MLB and the NBA, has not struck a deal with the newly formed card company, but that does not preclude the league from doing so before its current deal with Panini is done.

Two years ago, the NFLPA and MLBPA teamed up in an unprecedented private equity deal that helped lay the groundwork for this upheaval. The Journal first reported in 2019 the NFLPA and MLBPA’s creation of OneTeam Partners LLC, which was launched to expand opportunities to license their group name, image and likeness rights. Prominent among those assets: trading card deals.

Write to Jared Diamond at jared.diamond@wsj.com and Andrew Beaton at andrew.beaton@wsj.com

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the August 20, 2021, print edition as 'Fanatics Shakes Up the Card Market.'

With a Frenzy of Deals, Fanatics Swoops In to Reorder the Trading-Card World - WSJ

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From: Glenn Petersen8/21/2021 12:33:47 PM
1 Recommendation   of 239
 
The Upcoming NFL Season Is Crunch Time for Sports Betting

Online gambling has grown in popularity during the pandemic. But from a crowded field of competitors, only a handful will likely survive long term.


By Katherine Sayre
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 20, 2021 5:30 am ET

The U.S. gambling industry is betting it all on the National Football League this fall.

A crowded field of sports-betting companies are spending billions of dollars to promote their brands at a crucial turning point for the fast-growing industry. The stakes are high. Companies are grappling for toeholds in the growing market as they seek to ensure their long-term survival. Online gambling, including sports betting and casino-style games, has exploded in popularity in the U.S. during the pandemic and could become a $40 billion industry in the next decade, according to analysts and executives.

This season, the NFL for the first time is allowing sports-gambling companies to advertise during games. Up to six ad slots a game will be open to seven league-approved betting companies.

Chris Halpin, the NFL’s chief strategy and growth officer, said the league in recent years has studied how best to use betting content to boost fan engagement, without annoying nongamblers. As legalized online wagering has spread across the country, Mr. Halpin said, “it made sense for us to really introduce sports betting in a thoughtful way into our national footprint.”

Sports-gambling deal making among casinos, media networks and technology companies has accelerated this year. For companies, the Sept. 9 start of regular-season games represents a chance to build brand loyalty among avid gamblers and sway football fans to become new bettors.

“There’s only going to be a handful of brands when this market matures,” said Lloyd Danzig, an investor and mergers-and-acquisitions adviser who specializes in sports betting.
___________________________

Market capitalization of sports-betting companies

Parent of FanDuel: Flutter - $32.71 billion

DraftKings - 20.79 billion*

MGM Resorts - 18.15 billion

Caesars - 17.6 billion

Wynn Resorts - 10.26 billion

Penn National - 10.2 billion

*Doesn’t include non-traded shares
Note: As of Aug. 19

Source: FactSet
--------------------------------------

Many of the recent deals in the industry are primarily marketing arrangements. The NFL this year named Caesars Entertainment Inc., DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Group as its sportsbook partners, with the ability to display league content such as game highlights and logos in their gambling apps. The five-year deals are worth about $1 billion for the NFL, according to a person familiar with the agreements.

“We’re going to be able to reach that NFL consumer before and during the game in a way that we weren’t able to,” said FanDuel Group’s acting chief executive, Amy Howe.

In addition to its three sportsbook partners, the NFL has authorized four other gambling brands to buy ads during games: WynnBET, BetMGM, PointsBet Holdings Ltd. and Flutter Entertainment PLC’s Fox Bet. The league capped the number of ads to prevent the broadcasts from being flooded with gambling messages, while also vetting which companies can advertise.

Fox Bet was initially launched as a partnership that included Fox Corp. Fox Corp. and Wall Street Journal parent company News Corp share common ownership.

The spark for the online sports-betting boom came in 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for states beyond Nevada to legalize gambling on sports.

Now, 32 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting, each with separate rules and regulators. Ten of those states haven't allowed betting to begin yet.

In other deals, operators are seeking to acquire companies to quickly scale up. Some betting companies are acquiring or entering partnerships with sports media entities and makers of technology that powers their apps.

This month, digital-betting company DraftKings Inc. agreed to buy Golden Nugget Online Gaming Inc. for about $1.56 billion in stock. Golden Nugget Online, which operates digital casino games, gives DraftKings more tech and new customers. Golden Nugget CEO Tilman Fertitta, owner of the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets, will be one of DraftKings’ largest shareholders and is to sit on the board as part of the pending deal.



Wagering on games is expanding beyond casino sportsbooks thanks to the proliferation of betting apps. PHOTO: ETHAN MILLER/GETTY IMAGES
-----------------------------------

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said even as the company expands in casino games and sports betting, it is also exploring other markets, including nonfungible tokens, the digital collectibles known as NFTs.

“It’s something that’s both relevant to our customer base and also will drive other avenues for bringing in new customers,” Mr. Robins said in an interview.

The market consolidation happening today was expected, but it is sorting out winners and losers at a faster rate than many anticipated, said Chris Grove, partner at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. “You are seeing public markets more clearly reserve the upside for companies that have a credible shot at a national market leadership position,” Mr. Grove said.

MGM Resorts International, the biggest operator on the Las Vegas Strip, operates digital sports betting through its BetMGM brand. BetMGM is a joint venture with digital-focused British gambling firm Entain PLC. In January, MGM Resorts made a failed £8.09 billion (equivalent to about $11 billion) bid for Entain, which the British company said was too little money. MGM Resorts declined to comment on whether it is considering a renewed bid.

Caesars rolled out a new Caesars Sportsbook app in early August, just a few months after completing its acquisition of British sports-betting giant William Hill PLC for $4 billion. The goal was to be ready ahead of this football season, according to the company.

In New Orleans, Caesars reached a $138 million, 20-year deal for the naming rights to the Superdome, home of the NFL’s Saints. In a bit of corporate synergy, the company is planning to change the name of its Harrah’s casino, nearby in downtown New Orleans, to Caesars, following a $325 million renovation.



Sports-betting operators expect that running ads during NFL games will help them reach a broader audience. PHOTO: MIKE EHRMANN/GETTY IMAGES
--------------------------

Penn National Gaming Inc. operates gambling properties in 20 states and has made a big push into the digital realm. This month, the company agreed to buy Canada’s Score Media & Gaming Inc., operator of theScore app, for about $2 billion. The deal gives Penn National new digital technology, sports news and an expanded footprint in Canada.

The deal builds on Penn National’s move last year to take a stake in Barstool Sports Inc., a sports content and podcasting brand, and Penn launched a Barstool-branded betting app in the U.S.

“Our strategy has always been that there’s going to be a major convergence between sports media and sports betting,” said Penn National CEO Jay Snowden.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. this year agreed to spin off its online division, Wynn Interactive, through a reverse merger with a blank-check company founded by Bill Foley, owner of the Vegas Golden Knights National Hockey League team. Wynn Resorts is to hold 58% of the new publicly traded company after the deal closes, which is expected before the end of the year.

Wynn Interactive, which operates the WynnBET app, has also invested in a sports podcasting network Blue Wire, including a studio in the Wynn Las Vegas casino.

It isn’t a winner-take-all market, said Wynn Interactive CEO Craig Billings, because in such a large market, a company with a 10% to 15% share could operate a healthy business. But it will be difficult for companies to enter the market after this NFL season, he said.

“The competitive landscape is starting to form,” Mr. Billings said. “You’re starting to see who, ultimately, can be relevant.”

Write to Katherine Sayre at katherine.sayre@wsj.com

The Upcoming NFL Season Is Crunch Time for Sports Betting - WSJ

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From: Glenn Petersen8/21/2021 12:58:46 PM
   of 239
 
As the WSJ article in the preceding post notes, there will be a limited number of survivors in the online gaming space. Consolidation is inevitable. Right now, these companies are spending outlandish funds on customer acquisition. Once the land grab has been completed, they can cut back on the marketing expense and start generating profits.

I would not be surprised if Rush Street Interactive (stock symbol: RSI) is acquired within the next year.

A few points to ponder:

GNOG is being acquired by DKNG for $1.56 billion.
GNOG had $58 million in revenue for the six months ending June 30, 2021

GNOG 18.86 0.29 1.56% : Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Inc. - Yahoo Finance

RSI has a market cap of $2.64 billion
RSI had $235 million in revenue for the six months ending June 30, 2021

RSI 12.07 0.39 3.34% : Rush Street Interactive, Inc. - Yahoo Finance

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (202)8/24/2021 11:30:41 AM
From: Rarebird
   of 239
 
PENN- looks very promising that a bottom is likely in. If so, PENN should see $110-112 as first target.

schrts.co

schrts.co

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To: Rarebird who wrote (223)8/24/2021 11:48:16 AM
From: Rarebird
   of 239
 
Ideally, I'd like to see a little more strength to confirm a bottom. A strong close at or near the highs would help.

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To: Rarebird who wrote (223)8/25/2021 9:48:53 AM
From: Rarebird
1 Recommendation   of 239
 
:)

.............
....
...

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (222)8/27/2021 7:22:06 AM
From: Rarebird
   of 239
 
DKS and HIBB posting blow out quarters and raising estimates pretty dramatically. Gotta figure these sport enthusiasts are going to wager some money on sporting events.

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To: Rarebird who wrote (226)8/28/2021 4:10:42 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
2 Recommendations   of 239
 
Still early days. The ultimate promotional tie up:

ESPN Explores Sports-Betting Deal Worth at Least $3 Billion

Sports-media giant has held talks to license its brand to sportsbooks including Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings

By Cara Lombardo and Benjamin Mullin
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 27, 2021 2:46 pm ET

Walt Disney Co. DIS 2.03% ’s ESPN is seeking to license its brand to major sports-betting companies for at least $3 billion over several years, according to people familiar with the matter, aiming to capitalize on the fast-growing online gambling industry.

The sports-media giant has held talks with players that own major sportsbooks, including casino operator Caesars Entertainment Inc. CZR 4.25% and online gambling company DraftKings Inc., DKNG 3.72% the people said. ESPN has existing marketing partnerships with both companies.

On offer is the right for a suitor to use the ESPN name for branding purposes and potentially rename its sportsbook after the leading sports TV network in the U.S., the people said. A deal could come with an exclusive marketing commitment that would require the sports-betting firm to spend a certain amount of money advertising on ESPN’s platforms, one of the people said.

There is no guarantee ESPN will reach a deal. It remains to be seen whether gaming companies have an appetite to pay for the ESPN name when they are already investing to establish their existing brands.

ESPN has been cautious about entering the sports-betting arena. It has struck partnerships to integrate odds and betting-related content into some of its shows, and has podcasts and telecasts dedicated to gambling, i ncluding “Daily Wager.” But executives have said they want the company to avoid being directly involved in gambling transactions.

A brand-licensing deal would allow ESPN to profit from the boom in sports gambling without taking bets and making payouts to winners, which requires licenses in individual states.

Sports-betting is on track to generate revenue of about $4 billion in the U.S. in 2021, said Chris Grove, a gambling-industry analyst at research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. The industry has grown since a 2018 Supreme Court decision cleared the way for states other than Nevada to legalize sports betting. Now, 32 states and the District of Columbia have legalized wagering on sports.

The major players in the online sports-betting industry include DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM. There has been a flurry of deals in the industry and investors have been piling into companies with the potential to be major players.

DraftKings went public last year through a transaction with a blank-check company and a merger with a small gambling-technology provider simultaneously. Penn National Gaming Inc. in early 2020 took a significant stake in closely held Barstool Sports Inc. in a deal that gave it exclusive rights to use the media company’s brand in its sports-betting products.

Caesars launched a new Caesars Sportsbook betting app this month after completing its acquisition of British sports-betting giant William Hill PLC for $4 billion.

In January, MGM Resorts International sought to buy British gambling company Entain PLC but was rebuffed and later backed away from the proposal. The two companies are partners in BetMGM.

ESPN has been the dominant sports-media player for decades and a growth engine for Disney, having profited handsomely off the growth of cable television. The erosion of the cable TV market, as consumers cut the cord and switch over to streaming, is pressuring ESPN along with all other major networks.

Disney has made a major push into the streaming market with its flagship direct-to-consumer streaming platform, Disney+, which Chief Executive Bob Chapek has said is the company’s top priority. The company has also pushed an ESPN+ streaming service, which carries some sporting events along with documentaries and other original programming.

The entertainment giant suffered in the pandemic last year, as movie theaters closed and its theme parks shut. Earlier this month Disney posted sales for the quarter ended July 3 of $17 billion, up 45% from the year-ago quarter. The results were helped by a strong rebound in visitors to its reopened parks, but were still below the $20.2 billion in revenue in the year-earlier period.

Disney+ subscriber numbers beat estimates, reaching 116 million, up from 103.6 million in the previous quarter. ESPN+ also surged, reporting nearly 15 million subscribers, up 75% from the same period last year.

Sports-betting companies have been pouring money into promotional campaigns for their brands.

For the first time, the National Football League is allowing sports-betting companies to buy ads during games this season, limiting ads to six spots a game, and only for seven authorized gambling companies. Those include the NFL’s three official sports-betting partners, Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel. The NFL has also approved BetMGM, WynnBET, PointsBet and Fox Corp.’s Fox Bet for advertising.

Beyond ESPN, many other media companies have looked for ways to integrate sports wagering content onto their platforms or strike partnerships to enter the sector.

Fox Corp. has launched Fox Bet, looking to compete directly with DraftKings and FanDuel. The platform is powered by online sports-betting firm Stars Group, in which Fox owns a 4.99% stake.

CBS Sports last year struck a partnership deal with William Hill to use the gambling company’s data on its websites and in its programming. Earlier this year, internet TV provider FuboTV Inc. bought an online sportsbook, which it plans to integrate into its TV platform.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., the largest owner of regional sports networks, has partnered with casino operator Bally’s Corp. The deal included rebranding the sports networks as Bally’s Sports and integrating gambling content on Sinclair platforms. Bally’s is paying Sinclair $88 million over 10 years for the naming rights.

—Katherine Sayre and Lillian Rizzo contributed to this article.

Write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com and Benjamin Mullin at Benjamin.Mullin@wsj.com

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the August 28, 2021, print edition as 'ESPN Seeks $3 Billion Sports-Betting Tie-In.'

ESPN Explores Sports-Betting Deal Worth at Least $3 Billion - WSJ

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From: Glenn Petersen9/21/2021 10:34:02 AM
   of 239
 
DraftKings makes $20 billion offer for UK sports betting company Entain, sources say

PUBLISHED TUE, SEP 21 20219:46 AM EDT
UPDATED 1 MIN AGO
Hannah Miao @HANNAHMIAO_
CNBC.cpm
KEY POINTS

-- DraftKings is making a $20 billion offer to acquire U.K. online sports betting company Entain, people familiar with the matter told CNBC’s David Faber.

-- On Monday, before news of the deal, the enterprise value of Entain was about 13.2 billion pounds, or $18 billion.

-- Entain rejected an all-stock offer from MGM Resorts earlier this year worth $11 billion at the time.



Omar Marques | LightRocket | Getty Images
-------------------------------------

DraftKings is making a $20 billion offer to acquire U.K. online sports betting company Entain, people familiar with the matter told CNBC’s David Faber on Tuesday.

The offer is largely in DraftKings stock, along with cash, according to the sources.

Entain shares jumped more than 15% in London trading after the news.

On Monday, before news of the deal, the enterprise value of Entain was about 13.2 billion pounds, or $18 billion.

The U.K. gaming company rejected an all-stock offer from MGM Resorts earlier this year worth $11 billion at the time. Entain said the deal significantly undervalued the company.

MGM and Entain maintain an online sports betting partnership in the U.S. called BetMGM.

DraftKings and Entain spokespeople have not returned CNBC’s requests for comment.

Entain’s brands include U.K. poker and gambling companies Coral, Ladbrokes and PartyPoker.

DraftKings went public via a reverse merger with a special-purpose acquisition company in 2020. The online gaming giant operates fantasy sports contests and sports betting.

cnbc.com

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (228)9/21/2021 11:32:36 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 239
 
More analysis:

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT DRAFTKINGS’ REPORTED $20 BILLION BID FOR ENTAIN

Posted on September 21, 2021
by Brad Allen
Legal Sports Report

This is a developing story and will be updated.

DraftKings has proposed a $20 billion takeover of Entain, the UK company confirmed Tuesday.

The bid was first reported by CNBC’s David Faber.

Entain said it had indeed received a “proposal” from DraftKings, to acquire it for cash and stock.

However it said there was “no certainty” a formal offer would be made.

“A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate,” Entain said in a statement. “Shareholders are urged to take no action at this time.”

What we know so far about DraftKings bid for EntainThe “roughly $20 billion” price tag marked around a 30% premium to Entain’s share price as of Tuesday morning.

The price also represented a circa 18x multiple on Entain’s trailing 12-month EBITDA.

What’s in it for DraftKings?

As Faber noted, it makes sense for DraftKings to acquire aggressively with its stock so richly valued.

It could also potentially benefit from valuation arbitrage. That is, Entain’s revenues might command a higher multiple on the US stock market than in the UK.

Online gambling expertise

DK also gains access to the online gambling expertise embedded in the Entain business.

That experience is arguably one of the key edges BetMGM and FanDuel currently have over DraftKings.


Entain, while known for sporting brands like Ladbrokes and Coral, is now more of an online casino leader, according to Eilers & Krejcik analyst Alun Bowden.

DraftKings could certainly use more of that expertise in-house, even after acquiring Golden Nugget Online Gaming.

What happens to BetMGM?

Entain owns half of BetMGM, alongside MGM. It also provides the online betting and gaming technology to the joint venture.

Would MGM allow a key rival to own half of its US sports betting business. Or could it buy out BetMGM?

That might make sense if DraftKings is simply after the Entain revenues and talent rather than the technology. DraftKings already own proprietary sports betting tech.

In that case, DraftKings could take a leaf out of the Caesars/William Hill playbook and sell off some assets it does not want. Entain is a sprawling operation with gambling licenses in 27 countries, and 24,000 staff across five continents.

Defensive acquisition?

Eilers & Krejcik analyst Chris Grove suggested DraftKings was making a defensive play.

“[This] feels like a blocker bet,” Grove wrote. “Tons of value destruction if you’re DK. But you probably get a nice rebate selling the JV interest back to MGM. Regardless of what anything thinks, you have to admire the sheer audacity and the fact that DK is in the position to make this offer at all.”

Recall, MGM tried to buy Entain earlier this year for around $11 billion, but Entain said that bid “dramatically undervalued” it.

It has been proven spectacularly correct.

How the market reacted

Entain’s share price was last up 16.6% to 2,240p. That’s a fraction below the reported 2,500p offer price.

DraftKings stock was down 4% to $54.64.

Representatives from DraftKings had not returned requests for comment at time of writing.

What We Know About DraftKings' Reported $20 Billion Bid For Entain (legalsportsreport.com)

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