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PointsBet has rebuffed an offer of more than A$220m from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation for its Australian betting operation, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The newspaper said the bid was rejected by the PointsBet board nearly two weeks ago and never made it to a shareholder vote.

News Corp has already joined forces with an investment consortium led by bookmaking legend Matthew Tripp to launch a new sports betting operation in Australia in collaboration with technology partner BetMakers.

The acquisition of PointsBet’s Australia business would have given it access to a large and engaged customer base, as well as instant market share and proprietary trading technology.

A potential deal could also make strategic sense for PointsBet, which despite being ASX-listed and founded in Australia, is primarily focused on the North American sports betting market.

However, the News Corp offer, believed to be somewhere between A$220m and A$300m, was not enough to persuade non-executive chairman Brett Paton and the rest of the PointsBet board to sell up.

PointsBet may now instead find itself in direct competition with News Corp’s soon-to-be-launched bookmaking operation in Australia, which still does not have a name.

Former BetEasy boss Andrew Menz has been appointed as the new chief executive of the News Corp venture, while ex-Racing.com head Andrew Catterall will take over as the new CEO of PointsBet’s Australian business from 4 July 2022.

News Corp is already actively engaged in gambling and sports betting in both Australia and the US.

It owns the Fox Bet brand in America and has the potential to acquire a significant stake in Flutter-owned market leader FanDuel via its Fox Corp subsidiary, although the two companies are currently locked in arbitration over the price of that stake.

Despite being competitors, both companies may need to join forces to lobby against potential tax hikes for Australia’s international online gambling operators.

Land-based venues have come together with anti-gambling campaigners and domestic gambling giant Tabcorp to demand a tax rise in the state of Victoria.

According to WA Today, Australian bookmakers will pressure Treasurer Tim Pallas to increase the point of consumption tax for companies such as Sportsbet, which is based in Ireland as part of Flutter, and Ladbrokes, which falls under the umbrella of Entain and is based on the Isle of Man.

The tax rate in Victoria is currently 10% and occurs on bets at the time they are placed.

Victoria and New South Wales boast the country’s lowest rate at 10%, while South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory take 15%.

PointsBet declined to comment on the story when contacted by iGaming NEXT. 

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