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Paddy Power owner Flutter is planning to move its primary listing to New York in the latest blow to London’s shrinking equity market.
If approved by shareholders at an annual meeting in May, Flutter’s transition to a US primary listing, away from the London Stock Exchange, could take place as soon as later this year, the UK betting company said on Monday.
The Ireland-based gambling group said a primary US listing would offer “access to much deeper capital markets” as well as new investors across the Atlantic. The board plans to retain a secondary listing in the UK after the move.
The announcement is another setback for the UK stock market with a number of companies having recently opted to ditch their existing London listings in favour of rival exchanges in New York and Frankfurt. UK pollster YouGov and Europe’s largest tour operator Tui are some of the companies considering cancelling their London listings, citing a significant decrease in liquidity on UK equity markets over recent years.
Flutter’s share price dropped 1.4 per cent immediately after the announcement, but pared most losses in early afternoon trading. The company’s ordinary shares debuted in a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, while its secondary Dublin listing has been cancelled.
“We believe a US primary listing is the natural home for Flutter,” said chief executive Peter Jackson, noting that the company expects to earn most of its profits in the US in the near future.
The company, which also owns the Sportsbet brand, has been considering a primary US listing since last February and said the idea had received “very supportive” feedback from its investors and shareholders.
Unaudited revenue for the company’s US sports and gaming book rose by 26 per cent to £1.14bn in the final quarter of 2023, compared with the same period a year earlier. This is considerably higher than the £647mn revenue generated in the UK and Ireland.
Gambling companies have been spending large sums on marketing in the US in the hope of capitalising on the country’s online gambling boom, ever since a federal ban on the sports betting was lifted by the Supreme Court in 2018.
Flutter’s US business FanDuel has a 43 per cent gross revenue share of the sports-betting market in the US, rivalling fantasy sports and online gambling giant DraftKings.
At the same time Flutter, along with competitors such as 888, has been hit with heavier regulation in the UK and Ireland as governments seek to tackle problem gambling.