Sky sells remaining stake in SkyBet to Canadian owner of Pokerstars
Sky has sold its remaining 20 per cent stake in betting and gaming arm SkyBet to the Canadian owners of Pokerstars Stars Group for $4.7bn (£3.6bn) in a deal that will create the worlds largest publicly listed online gaming company.
Sky will receive £425m cash as well as shares worth around £145m in exchange for its 20 per cent stake in Sky Bet. The company said it would use the proceeds to slash debt and pursue growth.
Sky's majority stake in SkyBet was sold to CVC Capital Partners (CVC) in 2015, which recently hired investment banks to lead a possible IPO (initial public offering), which now looks unlikely to happen.
Sky said the combination of that deal and the Stars Group deal creates a total value of £1.2bn for Sky shareholders.
Jeremy Darroch, group chief executive officer of Sky, said: “We are proud of what we have achieved from a standing start with Sky Betting & Gaming, crystallising over £1bn in value for shareholders. The ability to create innovative products and successfully challenge for share in completely new markets has become a pattern at Sky and gives us the continued confidence to open up new opportunities and invest for future growth.”
Rafi Ashkenazi, the Stars Group chief, added: “SBG operates one of the worlds fastest growing sportsbooks and is one of the United Kingdoms leading gaming providers. SBGs premier sports betting product is the ideal complement to our industry-leading poker platform. The ability to offer two low-cost acquisition channels of this magnitude provides The Stars Group with great growth potential and will significantly increase our ability to create winning moments for our customers.”