Sky Betting & Gaming said its £3.4bn takeover by the Canadian owner of PokerStars will bring further prosperity and opportunities for its head office in Leeds.
The site in Wellington Street is home to 1,200 staff and The Stars Group has announced its full commitment to the Leeds hub.
Richard Flint, Sky Betting & Gaming’s CEO, said: “The fact that we have been able to grow our business so successfully from Leeds and attract interest from a global company like the Stars Groups demonstrates the strengths of the Yorkshire economy.
“The great people and high quality tech expertise available to us here have been key to our recent growth. We’re all looking forward to continued success and even more opportunities under our new owners.”
The takeover will create the world’s largest publicly listed online gaming company.
A spokesman for Leeds-based SBG said this is a good deal for Yorkshire.
“Yorkshire will remain a major hub for the new, enlarged group,” he said.
“There is a good, positive commitment to Yorkshire.”
SBG is being sold by CVC Capital Partners and Sky plc.
Stars has identified cost synergies of at least £50m a year, but SBG said the two businesses are complimentary so there are no current plans to increase or decrease the headcount.
SBG will retain its name and will remain in Leeds. The integration of the two firms should take 18 to 24 months and the Sky brand licence will roll out into the new ownership.
Mr Flint said: “We are delighted to join forces with The Stars Group.
“We have had a fantastic last few years and would like to thank CVC and Sky for supporting us in becoming a leading online operator in the UK. This transaction allows us to offer our best-in-class products to a truly global audience. We’re excited about our future together.”
Pev Hooper, partner at CVC, said, “Richard and his team have done a fantastic job building Sky Betting & Gaming into one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing operators.
“This combination with The Stars Group opens a new and exciting chapter for SBG to accelerate its international growth, and we look forward to continuing the journey as a shareholder in the combined group.”
Stars’ CEO Rafi Ashkenazi said: “The acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming is a landmark moment in The Stars Group’s history.
“SBG operates one of the world’s fastest growing sportsbooks and is one of the United Kingdom’s leading gaming providers. SBG’s premier sports betting product is the ideal complement to our industry-leading poker platform.
“Following this transaction, The Stars Group will have significantly enhanced scale and a highly-regarded global brand portfolio. As a result, we are well positioned to realise our vision of becoming the world’s favourite iGaming destination.”
SBG is home to the UK’s largest active online player base. With over 80 per cent of revenues generated from mobile devices, it is a leading mobile betting and gaming operator. In partnership with Sky, Europe’s leading sports broadcaster and media company, SBG has developed some of online gaming’s most well-known brands, most notably Sky Bet, Sky Vegas and Sky Casino.
SBG was the UK’s fastest growing, established online gaming operator in 2017. Following the acquisition, The Stars Group said its leadership will draw from two well-respected and highly experienced teams and SBG’s Yorkshire base will operate as a major hub of the enlarged group.
Jeremy Darroch, group CEO at Sky, said: “This agreement is an important milestone in SBG’s growth story and a testament to what we and the whole SBG team have achieved.”