Flutter Entertainment (OTC: PDYPY) is close to hiring a new chairman and that candidate’s background could signal the gaming company will forge ahead with plans to list its stock in the US.
The FanDuel parent is reportedly in discussions with John Bryant regarding the chairman role, which is being vacated by Gary McGann. McGann has been a Flutter board member for nearly nine years, meaning his status as an independent director ceases at the end of this year under UK corporate governance laws, reports Sky News.
Formerly chief executive officer of consumer staples giant Kellogg, Bryant has duel American and Australian citizenship. He currently serves on the boards of directors at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Plc, Ball Corporation and Macy’s Inc. — the latter two of which trade in New York. That background could stoke speculation Flutter will eventually list its stock in the US, which the gaming company said in February it’s examining.
Bryant’s LinkedIn profile indicates the executive doesn’t have gaming industry experience. He holds degrees from the Australian National University and the Wharton School as well as cybersecurity certification from Harvard Extension School.
The Sky News article doesn’t mention when Flutter could announce Bryant, or anyone else, as its next chairman. The Paddy Power owner holds its annual investor later this month and that could be an ideal time for a chairman announcement.
Interestingly, that’s also the meeting at which shareholders will vote on the proposal to list Flutter shares on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Seventy-five percent of investors, either in person or via proxy, must vote in favor of the resolution in order for the sportsbook operator to proceed with the US listing.
If that happens, analysts believe Flutter shares could arrive in New York before the end of this year. The company previously announced that it consulted some large investors on the proposal and the conversations were positive, indicating there’s clear momentum for the plan.
Market observers believe Flutter listing in the US will remove the conglomerate discount currently hampering the stock and potentially position the company to further delay or altogether scrap plans to sell a portion of FanDuel to public investors.
While Flutter, which also owns Pokerstars, has a sprawling betting empire in Australia and Europe, among other regions, the New York listing makes sense due to the operator’s 95% stake in FanDuel.
In the States, FanDuel is far and away the largest online sportsbook operator, commanding as much market share as its next two closest rivals combined. In nearly every state in which it offers mobile sports betting, FanDuel is tops by market share.
Other reasons for Flutter mulling a US listing are equally as practical. Those include broadening the company’s investor base among both professional and retail market participants and increasing its access to capital.
...a move that will further cement plans to abandon its presence on the London stock market. Sky News has learnt that Flutter Entertainment, which also owns SkyBet and Betfair, is in advanced talks to appoint John Bryant to the role. Mr Bryant, who is the senior independent director at Compass Group, the listed contract catering company, holds dual Australian and US nationality. He sits on the boards of two US-based companies
The FTSE-100 playing big behind Paddy Power is lining up a US-based businessman as its subsequent chairman – a transfer that may additional cement plans to desert its presence on the London inventory market.
Sky News has learnt that Flutter Entertainment, which additionally owns SkyGuess and Betfair, is in superior talks to nominate John Bryant to the position.
Mr Bryant, who’s the senior impartial director at Compass Group, the listed contract catering firm, holds twin Australian and US nationality.
He sits on the boards of two US-based corporations – Ball Corporation and Macy’s – and is known to spend the vast majority of his time in America.
An individual near the method mentioned Mr Bryant’s appointment was at a sophisticated stage, however cautioned that it had but to be finalised.
This weekend, it was unclear whether or not different candidates remained in discussions with the group.
Flutter’s annual shareholder assembly takes place later this month, which one investor instructed can be a logical time for the corporate to unveil its subsequent chairman.
The £26bn firm, which additionally owns Foxbet and Pokerstars, mentioned in February that it was exploring looking for a US itemizing for its inventory due to the rising significance to the group of FanDuel.
It anticipates the US-based operation turning into its “largest business by revenue and an ever-greater proportion of its overall value”, the corporate mentioned.
Flutter mentioned the transfer would give it entry to “much deeper capital” markets and would allow it to retain American expertise extra simply.
Shareholders will vote on the proposal this month, though the corporate has mentioned “early feedback has been supportive”.
The transfer to optimise its itemizing construction is the brainchild of Peter Jackson, Flutter’s chief govt, who has presided over a steep enhance within the firm’s worth.
That development in earnings and share worth has been delivered regardless of the specter of elevated regulatory intervention, with the federal government anticipated to publish draft laws that may embody a brand new statutory levy later this month.
While Flutter has not explicitly mentioned that it plans to ditch its London Stock Exchange presence, the probably transfer to hunt a main itemizing in New York is broadly anticipated to result in that end result over time.
The firm’s plans have sparked a renewed debate concerning the attractiveness of the London Stock Exchange to multinational corporations throughout a drought of sizeable City flotations.
That difficulty has been introduced into sharp focus by the choice of SoftBank, proprietor of the enormous British chip designer Arm Holdings, to take the corporate public in New York somewhat than London, regardless of intensive lobbying by UK authorities ministers.
CRH, the constructing supplies group, has additionally introduced plans to shift its main itemizing from London to New York, whereas it additionally mentioned this week that it might abandon the Irish Stock Exchange.
Other London-quoted corporations with vital US operations, together with Pearson, have signalled that they could be open to transatlantic strikes in future.
Sky News reported in January that Flutter had engaged the search agency Russell Reynolds Associates to determine Gary McGann’s successor as chairman.
The search will signify the newest boardroom change at an organization which now ranks among the many 30 largest listed corporations in Britain.
Flutter just lately named Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson as its new finance chief, changing Jonathan Hill.
Mr McGann joined the Flutter board in November 2014, that means he would now not be deemed impartial below the City company governance code by the tip of this 12 months.
Andy Higginson, the previous Tesco govt, had been touted as a possible long-term substitute for Mr McGann a number of years in the past however he stepped down from the Flutter board final 12 months, opting to develop into chairman of JD Sports Fashion, the retail group.
A Flutter spokesman declined to remark.