Shares in Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment surged by almost 10% on the back of it winning UK regulatory approval for its proposed $6bn (€5.4bn) takeover of Canadian online betting business The Stars Group.
Flutter announced its takeover of Stars — which owns the likes of Sky Bet, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars — in October.
The deal is now expected to complete ahead of schedule in the current quarter; having got the green light in the UK and partial approval in Australia – the two countries where the heaviest regulatory scrutiny was anticipated.
Completion of the deal is still reliant on regulatory approval in other countries — including from Ireland’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission — and from both companies’ shareholders, with those investor votes due to take place later this month.
Flutter CEO Peter Jackson called the UK clearance “a further important milestone” towards completing the deal.
Flutter last week scrapped plans for a pro-rated dividend, based on the Stars deal, as well as a normal dividend based on its 2020 performance.
It also said it would look to pay its 2019 dividend in the form of shares, rather than cash, as it looks to manage its reserves in the face of Covid-19-driven industry uncertainty.