Paddy Power Betfair and the Stars Group, two of the world’s biggest gambling industry operators, have discussed a merger, according to reports in the UK media.
A report in the Sunday Times stated that the management of both companies held talks at the end of 2018, with a potential merger the main subject of discussion.
The two companies are currently leading competitors in a global betting industry that has been transformed by the repeal of the anti-sports betting PASPA law in the US and a variety of regulatory changes in European markets.
Both betting groups underwent significant changes during 2018. Paddy Power Betfair made a significant move in the new US market, merging its US Betfair division with the newly acquired FanDuel brand, to produce an entirely new US-based subsidiary. And the Stars Group were the global betting industry’s biggest spenders during the year, purchasing Sky Betting and Gaming for $4.7 billion and Australian operators Crownbet and William Hill AUS for a total of $650 million.
The Sunday Times report confirms that the talks between the two companies are no longer underway and that any merger is likely to come under intense regulatory examination. Neither company has so far confirmed or denied the report, but the speculation suggests that the trend of mergers and acquisitions, which dominated the industry in 2018, is likely to continue in 2019.