Fanatics is reportedly in talks to acquire BetParx in an effort to speed its ascent in the US sports wagering space. A letter of intent between the two sides may have been signed.
Fanatics headquarters in Jacksonville, Fl. The company is rumored to be in takeover talks with BetParx. (Image: Jacksonville Daily Record)
Citing unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter, CNBC reported earlier today that Fanatics and BetParx are holding takeover discussions. There are no guarantees a deal will be reached and a proposed transaction price isn’t yet known. BetParx is controlled by Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, which runs casinos in Pennsylvania under the Parx brand. Greenwood also owns gaming software firm Playtech.
Should closely held Fanatics acquire BetParx, the purchase could rapidly speed the buyer’s sports betting expansion. It already has deals in place to operate the Fanatics Sportsbook at FedExField in Maryland, home of the NFL Washington Commanders, and to enter Massachusetts via an accord with Penn Entertainment’s Plainridge Park Casino.
Following a $700 million fundraising round last month, Fanatics was valued at $31 billion in private markets.
Fanatics Has History of Backing Away from Deals
Fanatics’ desire to efficiently bolster its sports wagering footprint isn’t surprising. But it may catch some market observers off-guard if it consummates a transaction with BetParx. That’s because the suitor has a documented history of being the center of acquisition rumors that never come to fruition.
For example, speculation surfaced last June that the sports apparel maker could be interested in acquiring German sportsbook operator Tipico. Prior to that, Fanatics was rumored to be a possible suitor for sportsbook operators including PointsBet, Rush Street Interactive (NYSE:RSI), Churchill Downs’ (NASDAQ:CHDN) TwinSpires Racing unit, Swedish gaming giant Betsson, and WynnBet, among others
In 2022, there was also chatter Fanatics could mull a bid for Kambi Group Plc (OTC:KMBIF). But that talk never advanced beyond the speculation phase.
For Fanatics, there is some allure in buying BetParx, because the sportsbook operator is live in a compelling mix of mature and up-and-coming sports wagering states, including Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Fanatics Could Alter Sports Wagering Landscape
For investors and operators alike, Fanatics could alter the complexion of the still-young US sports wagering industry. Analysts already voiced concern that the company’s entry into the arena could touch off a new promotional spending tussle, which could threaten profitability for established players.
For investors, Fanatics could be one of this year’s biggest, most ballyhooed initial public offerings (IPOs), should the company proceed with such a transaction. It’s believed the firm may want to notch an acquisition prior to going public.
Fanatics roster of private market investors is star-studded, including Peyton Manning, rapper Jay-Z, Brooklyn Nets owner Joseph Tsai, BlackRock, Fidelity, the NFL, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and its players’ union, and the NHL.
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