News Corp, led by Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and renowned Australian bookmaker Matthew Tripp made a A$220 million-plus (US$152 million) offer for PointsBet’s Australian division. The offer was rejected by PointBet’s board almost two weeks ago and was not voted on by shareholders.
News Corp is still expected to launch a sportsbook later in Australia in 2022. The company has already appointed former BetEasy CEO Andrew Menz as its chief executive. A purchase of PointsBet would have given the News Corp sportsbook a larger group of bettors upon launch.
Why News Corp Wanted PointsBet
Beyond expanding the customer base when the new sportsbook launches later this year, News Corp has been pushing for an entrance into betting globally. The existing focus is on Australia, as it is one of the most mature global betting markets.
The foray into gambling is to offset the decline in legacy media brands owned by News Corp. These brands include The Wall Street Journal and Fox News Channel in the United States, as well as The Australian.
So far News Corp owns two small online racing platforms: Racenet and Punters.com.au. The company’s Fox Corp launched the FOXBet sportsbook in 2019 in conjunction with The Stars Group, which took a 5% stake in the company. So far FOXBet is active in only four US states and has not expanded into Australia.
The efforts to expand into betting have been ongoing for over a year. News Corp wanted to find an established Australian bookmaker to launch an extension of its FOXBet brand. It partnered with Tripp in the hopes of aiding his attempted purchase of Tabcorp in 2021. While the purchase didn’t succeed, the partnership continued. BetMakers, in which Tripp has a substantial investment, will manage the technology platforms for News Corp’s new betting venture.
PointsBet Financial Standing and Outlook
Outside of Australia, PointsBet operates in 10 US states and Canada. In the most recent quarter, PointsBet did A$1.39 billion in handle across the US, Canada, and Australia, up 54% from the same time last year. PointsBet reported a positive EBITDA for its Australian wagering business for FY22 so far.
Since January 2022, PointsBet has also announced major partnerships. In January, the company became the exclusive betting partner of the NHL in Canada and the United States. The operator is also the official sportsbook partner of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment in April. The company has also launched in the major markets of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario.
In August of 2021, PointsBet said it was targeting a 10% share of the markets in which it operates by 2025. The most recent data shows that it is edging closer to this share in the United States, as it competes for the market leader position in New Jersey.
Ultimately, with a positive year-end EBITDA on the horizon and a market capitalization of $425.91 million at the June 11 close, the News Corp bid may have been too low to convince the board to bring it to a shareholder vote.