Following the rapid departure of Fubo Sportsbook from the sports wagering space, industry observers are turning attention to smaller players that could be takeover targets. PointsBet (OTC:PBTHF) is resurfacing as a name that could be attractive to prospective buyers.
PointsBet advertised at an Australian Rules Football game. The company could be a takeover target. (Image: CNBC)
In his firm’s weekly email update, RoundHill Investments cofounder Will Hershey noted that on the heels of Fubo’s unceremonious departure from sports wagering, the ultra-competitive regulated US sports betting market “is likely to see additional casualties.”
He didn’t mention specific operators that could eventually throw in the towel. But he did discuss the difficulties smaller gaming outfits face when it comes to lack of product differentiations and competing against deep-pocketed rivals, such as FanDuel.
We are likely to see continued attrition in the space amongst smaller sportsbooks, including the potential for consolidation,” wrote Hershey. “Companies such as PointsBet, which has an in-house tech solution and creative functionality such as Points Betting, are likely to prove more attractive to potential acquirers than boilerplate sportsbooks.”
Australia-based PointsBet does have an avenue for separating itself from rivals. In addition to traditional fixed-odds bets, the company offers a product known as PointsBetting. That allows bettors to win — and lose — significantly more than expected, based on various outcomes.
PointsBet Has Been Center of Takeover Rumors
PointsBet isn’t a stranger to consolidation rumors. Earlier this year, rumors swirled that Fanatics may have held talks with the Australian company regarding a marriage.
In June, reports surfaced that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and legendary Aussie bookmaker Matthew Tripp made a move on PointsBet’s Australian business. But the target rebuffed that overture without even taking the bid to the board of directors.
There are no shortage of PointsBet shareholders that could ultimately push for a sale, though it remains to be seen if such a scenario will arise. Barstool Sportsbook owner Penn Entertainment (NASDAQ:PENN) took a 6% stake in the Aussie gaming company last year. And in June, Susquehanna International Group (SIG) announced an investment in the gaming operator equivalent to 12.8% of its shares outstanding.
The operator is currently live in Ontario, Canada and 10 states, including lucrative New York. By the end of 2022, PointsBet is aiming to be operational in at least 19 North American states and provinces, and will be aiming for 10% share in those jurisdictions.
Like so many of its larger rivals in the US, PointsBet isn’t yet profitable. But it’s live in Ontario, Canada and 10 US states, including New York, which could be sources of allure for suitors.
On the other hand, a former employee in September told an Australian media outlet that PointsBet’s US operations are sloppily managed, and in his opinion, it’s unlikely the company will ever challenge FanDuel.
The ex-staffer also said the gaming company’s US unit is spending freely on partnerships with media companies and teams, with little evidence to suggest those expenditures are working in the operator’s favor.
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