May 14, 2023 - Economy

Fanatics buys PointsBet's U.S. business for $150M

Illustration of the football, money tongue, and basketball emojis.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Fanatics, the sports merchandise giant valued at over $30 billion, has reached a deal to acquire the U.S. assets of PointsBet, an online sportsbook operator based in Australia.

Why it matters: The deal brings Fanatics further into the world of online sports betting as it gears up for a potential IPO.

  • Fanatics hired former Meta executive Deborah Crawford as its first head of investor relations last month. The company has alluded to a possible IPO in the next few years.

Details: The deal values PointsBet's U.S. assets at $150 million.

  • It will give Fanatics access to sports gambling in the 15 U.S. states where PointsBet is currently licensed to operate.

What they're saying: "Fanatics and PointsBet are excited to enter into an agreement for Fanatics Betting and Gaming to acquire PointsBet's U.S. business," the companies said in a joint statement.

  • "While there are still several steps in the process to complete the acquisition, both parties are confident in the outcome. Fanatics Betting and Gaming and PointsBet will provide further details of the proposed deal and timely updates in the coming weeks."

Catch up quick: PointsBet has been trying to expand its U.S. presence since launching in New Jersey in 2019. It's since launched in states including New York, Colorado and Indiana.

  • PointsBet in 2020 inked a five-year deal with NBC Sports — worth nearly $500 million. That gave NBCU an equity stake in PointsBet and made PointsBet the exclusive sports betting partner of NBC Sports.
  • In January, the two parties said they would be extending their five-year sports betting deal by two years. The new deal reduced PointsBet's annual advertising spend obligations with NBCU assets.

The big picture: Fanatics has been eyeing a move into sports betting for some time.

  • Last year, the company's CEO Michael Rubin sold his ownership stake in the parent company to the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia 76ers, to avoid any conflicts of interest that would block Fanatics from getting into betting.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the formal announcement of the deal.

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