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U.K. Betting Firm Genius Sports to Go Public in $1.5 Billion SPAC Deal

U.K. betting-data firm Genius Sports Group Ltd. has struck a $1.5 billion deal to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange by merging with a U.S. blank-check company, a move that targets the growing U.S. sports-wagering industry.

London-based Genius Sports collects and distributes in-game data that forms the backbone for sports betting. The company works with organizations such as soccer’s English Premier League and the PGA Tour.

The deal, with dMY Technology Group Inc. II, a special-purpose acquisition company, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, the companies said in a release. The Wall Street Journal previously reported the planned tie-up.

U.S. casino operators and digital-betting companies have made a series of investments and public spinoffs this year in pursuit of the online and sports wagering markets in the U.S., pushed in part by the pandemic closures of brick-and-mortar casinos. Sports betting is now legal in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Analysts predict more states will soon legalize the industry in search of additional tax revenues.

SPACs—or blank-check firms—equivalent to dMY elevate cash by going public after which have a set interval, often two years, to hunt for an acquisition goal. Roughly half of the cash raised by preliminary public choices in 2020 has been for SPACs, in accordance with information supplier Dealogic, and the push for SPACs has helped make this yr the largest to date for IPO fundraising, already eclipsing the dot-com boom years across the flip of the century.

DMY Know-how Group II went public in August, elevating $240 million from its IPO and itemizing its shares on the New York Inventory Trade. As a part of the take care of Genius Sports activities, a gaggle of different institutional and {industry} traders will take a further $330 million stake within the firm.

The transaction is the second betting-industry deal in lower than 4 months by dMY’s leaders, Niccolo de Masi and Harry You. In July, an earlier dMY special-purpose acquisition firm struck a $1.8 billion deal to merge with Rush Street Interactive LP, a Chicago-based on-line playing firm. Below the phrases of that deal, which is about to shut this yr, Rush’s government crew would proceed to supervise the corporate and Messrs. de Masi and You’ll be a part of the board.

The 2 males are additionally to sit down on the board of Genius Sports activities, whose present senior administration would proceed to run the corporate after the deal closes. Genius Sports activities’ operations are based in Europe, nevertheless, it has smaller presences within the U.S., Africa, South America, Asia, and Australia, in accordance with the corporate’s website.

The deal comes as many startups in scorching sectors are pursuing SPAC mergers as a faster option to faucet public markets than a conventional IPO. On-line playing and the know-how that companies it’s one such space, because of a surge in betting by individuals caught at house throughout pandemic-driven lockdowns.

DraftKings Inc.’s market worth has surged to about $33 billion lately from roughly $3.Three billion earlier yr for the reason that SPAC Diamond Acquisition Corp. acquired the U.S.-based on-line sports-wagering and each day fantasy-sports operator and mixed it with gambling-technology supplier SBTech World Ltd. to take it public.

The Genius Sports activities tie-up can be the

biggest and certainly one of fewer than 10 offers since 2015 involving the acquisition of a Europe-based firm by a U.S.-listed SPAC, in accordance with Dealogic.

It could possibly be an indication of elevated deal exercise. In September, New York-listed SPAC Broadstone Acquisition Corp. raised $305 million from an IPO concentrating on a European firm. Then this month, Avanti Acquisition Corp., one other blank-check firm listed on the New York Inventory Trade, raised $600 million with an analogous mandate.

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