Jan 29, 2020

Gambling operator Penn National buys $163 million stake in Barstool Sports

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Penn National Gaming has agreed to buy a 36% stake in Barstool Sports for $163 million — a deal that values the company at $450 million.

Why it matters: With the gaming industry rushing to capitalize on the coming online sports betting boom, this deal joins an operator of 41 gambling properties in 19 states with a sports and lifestyle brand focused on young men.

  • Penn National will buy the 36% stake in cash and stock, and three years later, it will pay another $62 million to bring its stake to 50%, per the Wall Street Journal.

What they're saying: "It's a stunning deal for the digital media industry, coming as many publishers are retrenching after a round of ultimately disappointing Facebook-fueled optimism and investment," writes Vox's Peter Kafka.

  • "And it's a big payoff for the Chernin Group, which had reportedly invested some $25 million to buy controlling stakes in Barstool in 2016 and 2018."

Go deeper ... Exclusive: The Athletic raises $50 million

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The sports betting industry is set for a big year

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Barstool Sports used to be a media company, but on the heels of a $163 million investment from Penn National Gaming, it is now, in many respects, a sports betting company.

Why it matters: Barstool's evolution speaks to where the sports betting industry stands at the outset of 2020. With legalization on the horizon in key states and mobile betting set to explode, sportsbook operators are in a race to acquire users and build the best digital storefront.

Go deeperArrowJan 30, 2020

Media companies eye sportsbook partnerships to juice engagement

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Almost all major media companies are teaming up with sportsbooks to juice their content offerings.

Why it matters: The partnerships allow media organizations to increase engagement while sportsbooks can acquire more customers.

CBS Sports names William Hill as sports book, data partner

Photo: Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

CBS Sports said Monday that William Hill, a sportsbook operator, will be the official sportsbook and provider of wager information for the network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Why it matters: It's the latest media company to partner with a sportsbook to increase engagement with its content. Content partnerships for sportsbooks, on the other hand, help them acquire more customers.

Go deeperArrowFeb 10, 2020 - Sports