Media giant Fox Corporation has filed an arbitration suit against Flutter Entertainment, as the businesses dispute the purchase price of Fox’s option to acquire an 18.6% stake in Flutter’s FanDuel brand.
Flutter offered Fox Bet this option when it agreed to purchase a further 37.2% stake in FanDuel from investment consortium Fastball for $4.18bn (£3.03bn/€3.52bn) in December 2020. That acquisition took Flutter’s stake in FanDuel to 95%.
At that time, Flutter said it “intends to offer to Fox Sports the option to purchase 18.5% of FanDuel at fair market value in July 2021”, though it has since referred to the stake being 18.6%.
However, in its new lawsuit, Fox said it agreed it had the option to acquire the stake “for the same price that Flutter paid for that interest in December 2020”.
Under the December 2020 price, FanDuel as a whole would be valued at $11.80bn, and the 18.6% share would cost $2.09bn.
While FanDuel individually is not publicly listed, the share price of the Flutter group as a whole has increased by 16.0% since it announced the Fastball deal. Flutter notes that the ability to purchase a FanDuel stake based on the December 2020 price would represent a “windfall” to Fox.
“Flutter will not allow Fox’s filing, which is without merit, to distract from its business and will vigorously defend its position in the arbitration,” Flutter said.
The arbitration has been filed before New York-based JAMS arbitration, as per an arbitration mechanism laid out when Flutter agreed to acquire Fox Bet operator the Stars Group in 2019.
Flutter has previously announced that it is considering a spinoff and initial public offering (IPO) of part of the FanDuel business, but it said that “no decision had been made” yet.