They’ve only gone and done it again. The remarkable history of this remarkable company continues. The Stars Group’s $4.7 billion acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming took just about everyone by surprise.
Most people thought Stars’ immediate future lay with William Hill, while the only big deal on most people’s horizons for SkyBet was an IPO.
More fool us. Expectations of a tie-up with William Hill were mainly driven by the fact that Stars had been denied a merger with the UK bookmaker once before, and since then the bookmaker’s business development chief Robin Chhabra joined The Stars Group. Insiders at Stars were only too happy to allow us to put two and two together to make five, while Chhabra looked at the alternatives.
It was a simplistic analysis and in succumbing to its charms, most of us under-estimated Chhabra. He has pulled off three hugely significant deals in just six weeks. Furthermore, the acquisition of Sky makes the William Hill merger attempt look more like a bullet dodged than an opportunity missed.