London-based Genius Sports activities and dMY Expertise Group (DMYTU), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) listed on the New York Inventory Alternate, on Tuesday announced plans to merge. SPACs, which give firms another path to an IPO, have soared in popularity just lately.

The deal values the UK betting knowledge agency at $1.5 billion, the businesses stated in a press release. The transaction is predicted to shut within the first quarter of subsequent yr and features a $330 million funding by institutional and trade traders.

The mixed enterprise plans to “speed up its US and worldwide growth via natural progress and strategic acquisitions,” the businesses added.

Are you ready for some football? Gamblers are rejoicing

Genius Sports activities collects stay sports activities knowledge and offers it to bookmakers all over the world. The corporate works with organizations such because the English Premier League, the PGA Tour and the Nationwide Collegiate Athletic Affiliation, which oversees faculty sports activities the USA.

Sports activities betting was booming in the USA even earlier than the pandemic hit and is now authorized in practically two dozen states following a Supreme Court docket ruling in 2018. Whereas lockdowns severely disrupted massive sports activities occasions, the months lengthy shutdown of casinos helped increase demand for on-line playing and digital sports activities, which characteristic gamers competing in video video games.
That has spurred stock market listings and dealmaking within the sector. The board of UK playing firm William Hill (WIMHY) final month accepted a takeover bid from Caesars Leisure (CZR). Sports activities betting and on-line gaming represents “one of many largest areas of progress within the US gaming trade,” based on Caesars.

The Genius Sports activities deal can be the biggest acquisition of a European firm by a US-listed SPAC this yr, based on Dealogic. dMY went public in August, elevating $240 million to do offers within the shopper expertise area and including its identify to a string of SPAC listings.

Warning to Wall Street: SPACs may be out of control
SPACs, that are additionally generally known as “blank-check” corporations, are shell firms with no or restricted working belongings that elevate capital via an preliminary public providing for the aim of shopping for current companies. DraftKings, the web sports activities betting agency and fantasy sports activities operator, used this path to go public in April.
Within the first eight months of this yr, SPACs raised over $33 billion throughout 81 IPOs, greater than double the proceeds raised in 2019, based on Deloitte. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman are amongst excessive profile people who’ve raised capital this fashion.

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