Endeavor is putting down a big chunk of change on sports wagering: The entertainment and talent-agency conglomerate clinched a deal to acquire OpenBet, a sports-gambling technology company, for $1.2 billion.
Endeavor is buying OpenBet, which has about 1,000 employees worldwide, from Scientific Games. The deal price of $1.2 billion will be paid through a combination of $1 billion in cash and $200 million in Endeavor’s Class A common stock. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.
According to Endeavor, the acquisition of OpenBet will complement its position in sports betting. The Endeavor strategy is currently centered on IMG Arena, which works with more than 470 sportsbook brands worldwide to provide official live streaming video and data feeds for more than 45,000 sports events annually. IMG Arena’s rights holder clients include the PGA Tour, Ryder Cup, UFC, ATP, USTA, Wimbledon, Major League Soccer and the Football Association.
In addition to IMG, Endeavor owns entertainment agency WME and mixed martial arts organization UFC.
Endeavor shares shot up 14% in after-hours trading on the news, while Scientific Games stock was up more than 4%.
“OpenBet marks a strategic addition to our sports betting portfolio as we look to round out our technology and product offering for sportsbook operators and sports brands worldwide,” Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said in a statement. “The combination of OpenBet and our IMG Arena business will enable us to expand our footprint across the entire sports betting value chain and further capitalize on the tremendous upside we see coming from this fast-growing global industry.”
U.K.-based OpenBet focuses exclusively on licensed customers and regulated global gaming markets. Its customers include sportsbooks DraftKings, FanDuel, WynnBet, SkyBet, Ladbrokes and William Hill. OpenBet says its betting engine processed approximately 3 billion bets in 2020, and the company also hosts trading, pricing and risk-management tools, player account and wallet solutions, and content offerings such as BetBuilder, DonBest pricing feeds and a sports-content aggregation platform.
Jordan Levin, CEO of Scientific Games’ digital business unit, called the deal to sell OpenBet to Endeavor is “transformational” in combining OpenBet with “unparalleled access to sports rights, content and data across the Endeavor portfolio.”
“Together, we are uniquely positioned to define the future of sports betting entertainment,” Levin said in a statement.
The Raine Group acted as exclusive financial adviser to Endeavor on the transaction, and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal adviser.