2021.03.25

888 weighs IPO options to boost US presence

888 Holdings is formulating ways to attract US investors and this may include an IPO. This may be the most opportune time yet for such a move as the US market has becomes more fertile for the LSE-listed, UK based online casino and sports betting operation.

In a Bloomberg News interview, 888 company’s CEO, Itai Pazner said that the company is exploring numerous opportunities including “to float, to re-float, to split out”, and that “down the line, we will consider different options.”

He further stated that his company is seriously mulling its options in addition to other possibilities should the market “continue to trade at these kinds of multiples.”

Pazner went on to say that 888 is seeking to establish media and brand partnerships to increase the brand’s foothold in the US gambling market. Partnerships like this would allow 888 to join other European gaming and wagering operators that have joined forces with US media companies to enter the US market.

William Hill achieved such an arrangement in 2020 when the company became the Official Sport Book and Wagering Data provider of CBS Sports across all of the broadcaster’s platforms. The two companies stated that the arrangement was intended to “reimaging fan engagement through a unique integration of sports betting, media products, and technology.”

Biding their time

888’s boss advised Bloomberg that the operator has no immediate plans to go public in the US and continues to focus on its existing initiatives to grow its presence in the market.

888’s shares have leaped up by almost 400% over the past year, riding the wave of the increasing popularity of online gambling, thanks in large part to Covid-19-related lockdowns across the globe.

Sports betting in the US market has seen phenomenal growth since the Supreme Court revoked a federal ban on the pastime in 2018. The result was a stream of European companies placing operations in states where wagering is now legal.

These companies mostly joined up with US gambling operators to enter the market. An example of this is the Ireland-based Flutter Entertainment that acquired a stake in the daily fantasy sports and athletic gambling company FanDuel in 2018. Flutter recently increased its stake to 95% and stated that it was considering a listing of a “small shareholding” in FanDuel in the US.

888 Holdings IPO international