DraftKings plans to buy online betting rival Golden Nugget Online Gaming for $1.56 billion, the companies said Monday — sending Golden Nugget’s stock soaring more than 50 percent.
Golden Nugget shares ended the day at $18.50, up an eye-watering 51 percent from the previous day. DraftKings shares ticked up 1.5 percent to $52.36.
If it closes, the all-stock acquisition will give DraftKings — which is primarily known for fantasy sports and sports betting — greater access to casino-style betting, the companies said in a release. Combining the businesses will bring DraftKings more than 5 million new customers and create in $300 million in synergies, the companies added.
The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.
As part of Monday’s deal, DraftKings will form a new holding company containing both DraftKings and Golden Nugget, which also owns the Landry’s Inc portfolio of restaurants.
Golden Nugget shareholders will receive 0.365 shares of New DraftKings’ stock for each share held under the terms of the deal.
Billionaire Tilman Fertitta, who controls 46 percent of Golden Nugget and also owns the Houston Rockets, will join the new firm’s board and has agreed to hold his shares for at least one year after the merger closes.
DraftKings and Golden Nugget have both benefitted from growing demand for online betting fueled by the pandemic and the loosening of gambling laws across the country.
However, a potential regulatory cloud is hanging over DraftKings’ head, with the announcement coming just days after the company revealed it had received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations that it is exposed to an international “black market” and organized crime.
The accusations were first made by short-seller Hindenburg Research, which issued a lengthy report in June on alleged misconduct centering around DraftKings’ 2020 merger with Bulgaria-based SBTech.
The tie-up exposed DraftKings to serious “black market” operations — including SBTech’s track record of operating lucrative illegal gambling businesses in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Iran, according to Hindenburg Research, which is also known for brutal takedowns of companies like Lordstown Motors, Nikola and Clover Health.
In a Friday earnings release, DraftKings told investors that it had received a subpoena from the SEC on July 9 “seeking documents concerning certain of the allegations raised in the Hindenburg Report.”
The Hindenburg report initially sent DraftKings shares plummeting 11 percent to $44.95, but the stock has since surpassed pre-report levels.
DraftKings has denied Hindenburg’s allegations, and the company played down the significance of the SEC subpoena in a statement to The Post.
“It is not uncommon for the SEC to investigate allegations in short-seller reports,” a DraftKings spokesperson said. “The SEC inquiry does not suggest any wrongdoing or agreement with the short-seller allegations, and we intend to cooperate with the SEC inquiry.”
With Post wires