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FanDuel may dominate online wagering in the US, but allowing that American division of Flutter to flourish more independently may have to wait. Media organizations are widely distributing news from an article in Sunday’s Telegraph about the hotly anticipated US FanDuel IPO being delayed a year.
Many believed the IPO would happen this month, but that was always a rumor albeit one that Flutter didn’t deny.
In April, when word first got out about a potential US FanDuel IPO, some experts valued the company at as much as $35 billion. In the Telegraph article quashing hopes of a 2021 IPO, the headline showed a rather lower valuation of just £13 billion ($18 billion).
One of the biggest complications for Flutter Entertainment is its dispute with its media partner, Fox. Fox wants a better deal on the 18.6% equity in FanDuel that it has the option to buy this month. However, Flutter wants more money for that stake. So both companies remain in negotiations about the issue.
A spokeswoman for Fox, Ellen Davis of Sard Verbinnen and Co., responded briefly to OPR‘s request for comment about the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS) negotiations.
Davis told OPR:
“The arbitration proceedings are confidential, so we are unable to provide you with an update.”
Gambling expansion this year may also be disappointing to some, relative to expectations. Connecticut is moving forward, but Illinois is on hold. New York’s approach to mobile sports betting has received a lot of criticism, and the situation in Florida looks complicated.
Finally, the highest appraisals for FanDuel were based on the stock price of its publicly traded rival, DraftKings. Some analysts consider it to be overvalued, and would therefore naturally put a smaller price tag on FanDuel as well.
Aside from the Fox dispute, one major reason for the delayed IPO maybe be that FanDuel Group CEO Matt King is leaving the company this Friday. The Telegraph reported on Sunday that he’s accepted a job with businessman Tom Ricketts.
The Ricketts family owns the Chicago Cubs, and Tom serves as the team’s chairman.
This news goes against other reporting last month, when the New York Post wrote that King had accepted a job with ecommerce sports apparel company Fanatics. Anonymous sources told the paper that King would be spearheading Fanatics’ foray into iGaming and online sports betting.
Today, FanDuel and Flutter released statements announcing King’s replacement: Interim CEO Amy Howe, formerly COO for Ticketmaster.
Flutter’s statement suggested that this is unlikely to become a permanent assignment for Howe, who only joined the company in February.
“A full search for a permanent successor continues.”
Flutter had previously announced King’s impending departure in May. A PR representative speaking on behalf of the company declined Online Poker Report’s request for additional comment, pointing to that announcement instead.