LONDON – Irish bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair has confirmed takeover talks with US fantasy sports company FanDuel.
Paddy Power said in a statement Wednesday that it is "in discussions of a possible combination of the group's US business and FanDuel to create a combined business to address the future American sports betting market."
The company emphasized that discussions are ongoing and agreement is not guaranteed.
The takeover talks follow a groundbreaking US ruling earlier this week that may pave the way for the legalization of sports betting. The Supreme Court overturned a 1992 law that banned sports betting and paved the way for individual states to legalize the practice if they so wished.
Shares in British bookmakers jumped on the news as they speculated that they would move quickly to use the news. Paddy Power Betfair, which operates sports betting shops in the UK and Ireland, even scored 1
FanDuel was founded in Scotland in 2009, but is headquartered in New York. It operates online fantasy leagues for baseball, American football, basketball and hockey in the US. Players who pay a fee can then compete for cash prizes and FanDuel claims to have over 1 million registered users.
Paddy Power Betfair did not disclose details of the size of the deal, but Legal Sports Report, who announced the deal for the first time, said it was likely to be below FanDuel's $ 1 billion mark.
Neil Wilson, Markets.com chief market analyst, said in an email, "About 20 US states are either ready or have legislation in place to legalize the industry, which is a significant opportunity to gain market share all major British sports bookmakers and it's no surprise that we see this kind of movement.
"A FanDuel bond would give PPB the opportunity to introduce and grow ops faster. It would also eliminate some potential local competition. "
Paddy Power Betfair has already taken steps to enter the US fantasy sports market, winning $ 48 million last May.
Paddy Power Betfair's stock, which has a market capitalization of £ 6.7 billion, rose 1.3 percent on Wednesday.