Canadian online poker giant The Stars Group has announced the successful completion of its acquisition of an additional 18% equity interest in Australian sportsbook CrownBet Holdings Pty Limited and CrownBet’s subsequent acquisition of William Hill Australia Holdings Pty Ltd.
The acquisitions, first announced in early March, see The Stars Group take control of 80% of the combined businesses with the company proclaiming it has now created an operator “of scale and clear rival” to leading Australian sportsbooks Tabcorp and Sportsbet.
The Stars Group’s increased stake in Crownbet comes at a cost of US$81 million, while Crownbet’s deal for William Hill is worth US$315 million.
“These acquisitions will further increase our exposure to the attractive regulated Australian sportsbook market and create a player of scale and clear rival to the top two operators there,” said The Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi last month.
“With complementary geographic profiles, we expect the combined business to leverage CrownBet’s operating and proprietary technology platform and be well positioned for growth and to navigate the ongoing regulatory and taxation changes in the Australian market.”
It has been suggested that The Stars Group would use any income generated via its CrownBet acquisition to fund the fight to have online poker legalized in Australia after tightened regulations saw The Stars Group’s biggest asset, PokerStars, forced to withdraw from the Australian market last year.
Completion of the deal comes just two days after The Stars Group announced it would acquire Britain’s Sky Bet in a deal worth US$4.7 billion.