The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has given its approval to the proposed mega-merger between Flutter Entertainment, the parent company of Paddy Power Betfair, and Sky Bet operator The Stars Group.
The CMA granted “unconditional phase one clearance” to the proposal, which would see Flutter acquire all of the shares in TSG and join together to create a combined business with annual revenue of £3.8bn (€4.3bn/$4.7bn).
The proposed transaction is still subject to approval by Flutter shareholders at its extraordinary general meeting on 21 April, as well as TSG shareholders at a vote on 24 April.
The merger is also conditional on approval from a number of other regulatory bodies, some of whom have warned that this process could be delayed due to the global outbreak of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
Among the organisations yet to give clearance to the proposed merger are the UK Financial Conduct Authority, London Stock Exchange and Euronext Dublin.
“This morning’s announcement from the CMA marks a further important milestone in the process towards completion of our proposed combination with The Stars Group,” Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson said.
“We continue to work with the remaining international regulatory authorities to obtain the last of the outstanding approvals. Separately, last week FortuneZ published the necessary documentation ahead of the shareholder votes in April and we continue to make good progress in our post-completion planning.”
Flutter and TSG last week also announced that they had come to an agreement as to who will serve as directors at Flutter. Divyesh Gadhia, currently the executive chairman of TSG, will become deputy chair of the group, following completion of the merger.
TSG chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi will act as a consultant to Flutter and join the board in a non-executive capacity rather than taking up an operational role, while Richard Flint, Alfred Hurley Jr, David Lazzarato and Mary Turner will also become directors.
Subject to completion, Jan Bolz and Emer Timmons will step down as non-executive directors of Flutter, while Ian Dyson will step down from the audit committee and will relinquish his roles as senior independent director and chair of the nomination committee. Andrew Higginson will instead take up these positions.