Jan 29, 2020

Gambling operator Penn National buys $163 million stake in Barstool 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."

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The EU makes its move on a green coronavirus recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The European Commission this morning proposed a $825 billion package of economic responses to the coronavirus pandemic that includes financing for renewable energy, electric vehicle charging and other emissions-friendly projects.

Why it matters: The energy components of the "Next Generation EU" plan, part of a wider multi-year budget proposal, appear to be the most substantial attempt yet to stitch low-carbon investments into economic recovery plans.

Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next

Zipline's drone drops medical supplies via parachute. Image courtesy of Zipline.

Zipline, a California drone company, has made its U.S. debut by delivering medical supplies to hospitals in North Carolina under a pilot program honed in Africa.

Why it matters: The effort, made possible by a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to Novant Health, is the nation's longest-range drone delivery operation and could demonstrate how drones could be used in future pandemics, Zipline officials said.

NHL unveils 24-team playoff plan to return from coronavirus hiatus

Data: NHL; Table: Axios Visuals

The NHL unveiled its return-to-play plan on Tuesday, formally announcing that 24 of its 31 teams will return for a playoff tournament in two hub cities, if and when medically cleared.

Why it matters: Hockey is the first major North American sports league to sketch out its plans to return from a coronavirus-driven hiatus in such detail, and it's also the first one to officially pull the plug on its regular season, which will trigger ticket refunds.