Paddy Power Betfair in talks about USA deal

Paddy Power

"Discussions are ongoing and there is no certainty as to whether agreement will be reached, or as to the terms or timing of any transaction", the company said in a statement.

FanDuel allows players to pick fantasy sports teams and play against each other for cash prizes.

The talks may be the start of a wave of deals involving betting companies in the U.S.

Paddy Power-Betfair confirmed the talks two days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law prohibiting states from authorizing sports wagering.

Many analysts believe London-listed firms are well placed to grab a slice of the United States market, where some estimates say almost $150bn (£111bn) in illegal wagers are placed every year.

Shares of USA casino companies and bookmakers such as William Hill Plc rallied on the court decision.

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The UK and Ireland-based bookmaker set foot in the US DFS market in 2017 for the first time, thanks to the acquisition of the local fantasy sports website Draft at the price of $48 million. Paddy Power shares rose 5.5% to 81.90 pounds at 9:45 a.m.

Paddy Power Betfair's shares jumped by more than 12.2% in a day when the supreme court announced its decision earlier this week, signalling analysts' belief that it is well placed to launch an assault on the USA market.

Revenue from the company's USA operations increased 23% year-on-year according to Paddy Power Betfair's latest Q1 report.

If a deal goes ahead, it is likely to be worth considerably more than the $48m (£35.6m) that Paddy Power paid for FanDuel's smaller rival Draft a year ago. Earlier today, the company itself confirmed the rumoured deal, saying that it is now in merger talks with FanDuel. As part of a planned merger with DraftKings that was blocked by antitrust regulators, FanDuel in 2017 listed its equity valuation at $1.2 billion, Axios reported.

FanDuel is backed by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Google Capital and NBC Sports Ventures.

The Government is expected to cut the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £2, with betting firms set for a profits hit as a result of the change.

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