dfs logo<br />
Star Fantasy Leagues Investor Dermot Desmond Blasts Ladbrokes-Coral Merger

Star Fantasy Leagues Investor Dermot Desmond Blasts Ladbrokes-Coral Merger

by | Nov 18, 2015 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

One of the primary investors in Daily Fantasy Sports site Star Fantasy Leagues as well as a stakeholder in Ladbrokes, Dermot Desmond, has attacked that UK bookmaker’s merger with Coral saying it is “the wrong deal”.

The Irish billionaire is considered to be Ireland’s answer to Warren Buffett.

“Ladbrokes’ shareholders should instruct the board to properly evaluate all strategic options open to it before committing to what I believe is the wrong deal,” he said.

In particular, he attacked John Kelly — to be chairman of the combined business — for what the London Evening Standard classified as an “abject performance as chairman of Gala Coral”, and Ladbrokes chairman Peter Erskine for leading the bookmaker down a “disastrous path”.

From the London Evening Standard:

Desmond said lost profits from up to 1000 betting shops the merged company could be forced to sell off by competition authorities could outweigh £65 million in cost savings.

Higher betting-machine takings were vulnerable to regulation and a £75 million settlement of Ladbrokes’ software deal with Israeli specialist Playtech was expensive, he added.

He added: “The real winners are the Coral shareholders, who receive access to liquidity for their shares and significant relief from a £2.2 billion debt burden.

“Make no mistake — this is a zero-premium acquisition of Ladbrokes by Coral.”

Desmond is one of the main investors in Rochester, New York white label Daily Fantasy Sports software provider Star Fantasy Leagues, for which he injected an amount only described as “exceeding $2 million” in September 2014.  The company has since focused on developing strategic partnerships with DFS operators and vendors worldwide.

Star Fantasy Leagues has long been focused on legal and regulatory compliance in the gaming market.

“Daily Fantasy Sports is a hugely exciting and rapidly growing area,” Desmond said back in September 2014. “With Star Fantasy Leagues we have partnered with a company that has best-in-class technology and has the industry leading compliance infrastructure, built by a very talented team. They are uniquely placed to help lead and shape the emerging daily fantasy sports industry and we are very excited to be a part of that journey.”

– Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com