Fox CEO Murdoch Sees ‘Clarity’ Coming in FanDuel Arbitration

Fox Corp. (NASDAQ:FOX) CEO Lachlan Murdoch believes resolution to the media company’s long-running arbitration against FanDuel parent Flutter Entertainment (OTC:PDYPY) could emerge in the coming months.

Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch. He says the company’s legal rift with Flutter could soon be resolved. (Image: CNN)

He made remarks to that effect on the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call with analysts on Wednesday.

As regards to, Flutter we’re still in our arbitration process with them. We look forward to the clarity of getting through that process, which we expect to be in the next couple of months certainly sort of by the beginning of the autumn,” said Murdoch on the call.

Flutter and Fox are engaged in a now more than year-long legal spat over the price the latter will pay to buy an 18.6% slice of FanDuel. Flutter wants what it believes is fair market value, while Fox wants the price the parent company paid — $4.175 billion in December 2020 — when it bought out investment firm Fastball’s 37.2 percent interest in FanDuel.

History of Fox/Flutter Fracas

In April 2021, Fox confidentially filed a suit against Flutter last week in New York’s Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS). JAMS isn’t a traditional court of law, but its decisions are binding and gives parties a more efficient avenue for settling disputes.

The FanDuel parent doesn’t take issue with Fox’s efforts to acquire the 18.6% stake. In fact, Flutter readily acknowledges it will fulfill its contractual obligations to sell that slice to the media conglomerate. However, the Irish gaming company wants what it interprets to be fair market value for the percentage of FanDuel.

Even with the erosion in sports betting equities dating back to last year, Flutter likely views almost 19% of FanDuel  to be worth significantly more than about half of $4.175 billion. Fox holds some cards in the negotiations. Notably, the arbitration is believed to be hampering Flutter’s plans to spin-off part of FanDuel to public investors via a US listing.

There is wiggle room for FanDuel to potentially command a larger market value upon going public. Recent estimates indicate the company controls roughly 47% the US online sports wagering market or more than rivals BetMGM and DraftKings combined.

Fox Still Committed FOX Bet

FOX Bet is part of the media company’s partnership with Flutter, but it falls under the gaming company’s umbrella. Flutter has used that its advantage, taking shots at FOX Bet since the JAMS arbitration was announced and allowing the business to take a backseat to FanDuel.

Still, Murdoch is optimistic growth is ahead for FOX Bet and that could emerge following resolution to the legal rift against Flutter.

“But once that situation is clarified and also in early September as you see the NFL season kick off again, you’ll see a lot more activity around FOX Bet and FOX Bet Super 6,” he said on the call.

Murdoch highlighted the broadcaster’s vast television sports rights and its free-to-play app FOX Bet Super 6 as funnels to FOX Bet.

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