Jan 29, 2020

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

Kendall Baker, author of Sports

Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

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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RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong legislature bans insults to Chinese national anthem

Activists holding a candlelit remembrance outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4, 2020, to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that makes insulting the "March of the Volunteers," the Chinese national anthem, illegal, AP reports.

Why it matters: It did so on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, when Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy activists in 1989. The death toll has never been released, but estimates vary between hundreds and thousands.