888 Holdings is exploring options to bring US investors on board, including a potential IPO, as the local market becomes more meaningful for the London-listed online casino and sports betting firm.
In an interview with Bloomberg News last week, the company’s CEO, Itai Pazner, said that there are many opportunities, including “to float, to re-float, to split out”, and that “down the line, we will consider different options” as the US becomes more important for them.
The gambling executive went on to say that they will definitely consider the above as well as other possible options if the market “continues to trade at these kinds of multiples.”
Mr. Pazner further revealed that they are looking to seal media and brand deals that could boost his company’s presence in the lucrative US gambling space. Such partnerships will see 888 join the ranks of other European gaming and wagering operators that have teamed up with US media companies as part of their efforts to grow their operations across the pond.
In a deal of this kind, William Hill (soon to become part of Caesars Entertainment, Inc.) last year became the Official Sport Book and Wagering Data provider of CBS Sports across all of the latter’s platforms. The two parties in the major media partnership said it aimed to “reimagine fan engagement through a unique integration of sports betting, media products, and technology.”
888 Says It’s in No Rush
888’s boss told Bloomberg that they are in no rush to go public in the US and are for now focused on expanding their business in that market. He went on that they do not expect to announce any immediate decisions.
The company has already got in contact with bankers and advisers and has many ideas discussed by its management team about its future.
The Gibraltar-headquartered company saw its shares rise nearly 400% in the past year as the popularity of online gambling soared significantly due to Covid-19-forced lockdowns nearly everywhere in the world.
In the US, in particular, sports betting has been growing rapidly since the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on the practice in the spring of 2018. That resulted in many European companies launching operations in the states where wagering has been legalized since the SCOTUS ruling.
And many of these companies have teamed up with fellow gambling operators in the US to increase their footprint there. Ireland-based Flutter Entertainment purchased a stake in US daily fantasy sports and athletic gambling company FanDuel in 2018 and recently raised that to 95%.
Flutter said earlier this month that it was mulling a listing of a “small shareholding” in FanDuel in the US, although a final decision was yet to be made.
Source: “888 CEO Says He’d Weigh Public Listing to Tap U.S. Market”, Bloomberg, March 18, 2021
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