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Bally’s to acquire DFS operator Monkey Knife Fight


Casino and sports betting operator Bally’s Corporation has agreed to acquire North America’s third-largest daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator, Monkey Knife Fight.

As part of the all-stock transaction, Monkey Knife Fight is set to receive immediately exercisable penny warrants to purchase approximately $50m in Bally’s common shares at closing.

It is then set to receive contingent penny warrants to purchase up to approximately $20m in additional shares on the first and second anniversaries of the deal closing, for a possible total of up to $40m.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, and Bally’s said it represents the latest step in its long-term growth and diversification strategy to become the first vertically integrated sports betting and igaming company in the US with a B2B and B2C business model.

Bally’s also said the deal complements its recent media partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group and pending acquisition of sports betting platform supplier Bet.Works.

The operator plans to combine Monkey Knife Fight’s geographical footprint with Sinclair’s media reach, including its portfolio of 21 regional sports networks, to engage sports fans across the US.

Monkey Knife Fight has approximately 180,000 registered users and 80,000 depositing players across 37 US states and Canada, and was ranked by SponsorUnited as the sixth most-searched and tenth fastest-growing brand in sports and entertainment.

Bally’s said the acquisition will support its plans to develop a potential sports bettors database in states such as California, Florida and Texas, as well as in Canada, which is expected to authorize sports betting in the near future.

“With this acquisition, we are pleased to enter into the high-growth DFS market,” George Papanier, president and chief executive of Bally’s Corporation, said. Monkey Knife Fight is a unique asset that we look forward to incorporating into Bally’s constantly growing omnichannel portfolio of land-based casinos and iGaming platforms.”

“As with all of the properties and services that fall under the iconic Bally’s brand, we are committed to providing a best-in-class DFS platform to sports fans around the country.”

Bill Asher, founder and chief executive of Monkey Knife Fight, added: “Since our inception, we have distinguished ourselves from competitors by providing the best experiences for our valued players, forming strategic partnerships with teams, ownership groups and players unions, and acquiring strategic assets to bolster our position in the market,”

“I am immensely proud of all we have accomplished over the past three years at MKF and am confident that the talented Bally’s team has what it takes to continue to grow and develop what is already a great business.”