BetEasy Now Fully Owned by Stars Group, Founder Matt Tripp Makes A$250m Exit
Australian bookmaker Matt Tripp is set to make a full exit from BetEasy, the sports betting operation he started in 2013, after he and his management team have agreed to sell their 20% stake in the business to majority stakeholder The Stars Group.
The Stars Group, which currently owns an 80% interest in the gambling operator, will pay A$151 million for the remaining 20%, and an additional A$100 million in performance, earn-out payments.
The Canadian gambling giant said Tuesday that the performance payment could have reached A$232 million and was subject to performance conditions mostly related to BetEasy’s EBITDA.
Mr. Tripp, who has been part of each of BetEasy’s many phases of development and growth in the competitive and tightly regulated Australian wagering market, will step down as its CEO, but will be able to “provide ongoing leadership” as the operator’s non-executive President. He will assume his new role on January 1, 2020.
The CEO role will be succeeded by Andrew Menz, who currently serves as Director of Strategy & Regulatory Affairs at BetEasy. Mr. Menz’s experience in the industry also includes a Legal and Corporate Affairs Director role at Betfair Australia. The new BetEasy CEO played instrumental part in the formation of Responsible Wagering Australia, an independent body representing the Australian online sports betting industry.
Transaction to Be Completed within 90 Days
The Stars Group expects to complete the purchase of the 20% BetEasy stake within 90 days following either the publication of its full-year financial report for 2019 or the closing of its previously announced mega-merger with Irish gambling powerhouse Flutter Entertainment (formerly Paddy Power Betfair).
Mr. Tripp founded BetEasy back in 2013. Australian business mogul James Packer and his gambling business Crown Resorts purchased a controlling stake in the betting operator not long after and rebranded it as CrownBet. The business operated under that brand until last year when The Stars Group purchased an 80% stake in it.
At about the same time, CrownBet purchased William Hill Australia, the struggling Australian business of British bookmaker William Hill. Under The Stars Group’s stewardship, CrownBet and William Hill Australia merged and rebranded as BetEasy in the summer of 2018.
BetEasy become Australia’s third largest sports betting operator, behind only Tabcorp, which combined with rival Tatts in late 2017, and Sportsbet, the Australian operation of Flutter.
It is important to note that Sportsbet’s cementing as a market leader should be attributed to the outgoing BetEasy CEO. Mr. Tripp bought Sportsbet for A$250,000 in 2005, only a fraction of the A$338 million he sold it for to Paddy Power Betfair in 2011.
Of his exit from BetEasy, Mr. Tripp said that he was pleased to see their “long-term succession plan come to fruition” and that he was leaving the business “in very capable hands with a strong executive team and the backing of The Stars Group.”