Posted on: September 16, 2021, 03:00h.
Last updated on: September 15, 2021, 10:05h.
Fanatics, the sports merchandise giant angling to get into the world of betting, is reportedly talking with Rush Street Interactive (NYSE:RSI) and other gaming companies about a takeover that could hasten the suitor’s move into the sports wagering space.
Internet chatter to that effect surfaced Tuesday afternoon, prompting a late day spike in RSI shares. After trading lower for most of the day, shares of the iGaming company closed up 6.13 percent on volume that was more than quadruple the daily average after the Fanatics takeover speculation surfaced.
In the wake of DraftKings’ (NASDAQ:DKNG) $1.56 billion all-stock purchase of Golden Nugget Online Gaming (NASDAQ:GNOG) announced last month, analysts and investors widely speculated on which iGaming operator could be next to be acquired with RSI frequently appearing at the center of that chatter.
Immediately after the DraftKings/GNOG marriage was announced, RSI stock surged more than 30 percent over the next several days. Like GNOG, Rush Street Interactive is heavily focused on internet casinos, also possesses an online sportsbook operation and came to market late last year following a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Others on Fanatics List
Fanatics is also rumored to be holding talks with Swedish gaming giant Betsson.
Florida-based Fanatics is valued at $12.8 billion, as of March, in private markets. After dramatically altering the sports apparel business and recently shaking up the trading cards landscape, the company is making clear its intent to be a player on the sports betting stage. For example, Fanatics recently announced the hiring of former FanDuel CEO Matt King and Tucker Kain, the president of business enterprise for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kain will oversee Fanatics’ entries into new business arenas.
At that $12.8 billion valuation, the field of potential targets for Fanatics, particularly in the sub-$5 billion group, is wide open. In addition to the $1.3 billion Betsson and the $3.61 billion RSI, Fanatics could easily afford Kindred, 888 Holdings and Australia’s PointsBet (OTC:PBTHF).
For now, however, the rumor mill appears focused on Fanatics buying RSI or Betsson. 888 Holdings recently announced the purchase of William Hill’s international assets while any takeover of PointsBet would involve a suitor rewarding Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) because that company recently revealed a 6.7 percent stake in the Australian company.
For Fanatics, Lots to Like with RSI
Not only is RSI affordable for Fanatics, the target has what the potential suitor craves: Multi-state access for iGaming and sports wagering.
RSI operates under the BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com brands and is currently available with either mobile or retail businesses in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Last month, RSI took minority stake in mobile games developer Boom Entertainment, giving it access to Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico by way of Boom’s established relationships with land-based casinos in those states. RSI is also operational in Colombia.