New York-listed FOX Corp. has agreed to acquire a 4.99 per cent stake in Toronto-listed gaming operator The Stars Group as part of a 25-year commercial agreement announced late Wednesday.
The agreement will see The Stars Group and FOX Sports launch FOX Bet, a first-of-its kind national media and sports wagering partnership in the United States.
Under the terms of the deal, FOX Sports will provide The Stars Group with an exclusive license to use certain FOX Sports trademarks across two products slated for launch later this year under the FOX bet umbrella, a national free-play prediction game and a real-money sports betting product for regulated US states.
Fox Corp. will acquire 14.35 million newly issued shares in The Stars Group at a price of $16.4408 per share, equal to approximately 4.99 per cent of the business, with aggregate net proceeds of approximately $236m to be used to write down debt.
The agreement also gives FOX the right to acquire up to 50 per cent of The Stars Group’s US business prior to the tenth anniversary of the agreement.
"We believe this strategic partnership uniquely positions us to build a leading betting business in the U.S., which represents one of the most exciting long-term growth opportunities for our company," said Rafi Ashkenazi, chief executive of The Stars Group. "Leveraging our proven media partnership strategy with Sky Sports in the UK, we are excited to partner with FOX Sports to integrate wagering into sports media and drive customer acquisition and retention in the U.S."
Eric Shanks, CEO and executive producer of FOX Sports, added: "FOX Sports is already synonymous with the best live sports events in the country and now we are expanding the way we immerse fans in the sports culture they love. Digital sports wagering represents a growing market opportunity that allows us to diversify our revenue streams, connect directly with consumers and expand the reach of the FOX Sports brand."
Shares in The Stars Group Inc. (TSX:TSGI) closed 0.51 per cent lower at CAD$23.58 per share in Toronto Wednesday, prior to the announcement, while shares in FOX Corporation (NSQ:FOXA) closed up 0.43 per cent at US$37.42 per share.