Bally’s Corporation to Acquire MKF

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Bally’s Corporation announced on Monday that it has acquired Monkey Knife Fight (MKF), for up to $90 million in stock. The acquisition of the third-largest daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator in North American in an all-stock transaction will widen Bally’s drive to add online sports betting, casino, and media companies and is part of the company’s long-term growth and diversification strategy.

The gaming company’s recent addition also complements its recent media deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group and Bally’s pending acquisition of Bet.Works. More importantly, Bally’s now becomes the third US sports betting brand to have a daily fantasy sports offering, along with Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel.

Who is Monkey Knife Fight?

MKF is the third-largest Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sports operator in North America, with a business spreading across 37 states and with 180,000 registered users and as many as 80,000 depositing players. Last year, MKF was also ranked by SponsorUnited as the sixth most-searched-for and tenth fastest-growing entity in sports and entertainment. The brand provides its loyal users with a dynamic and creative slate of daily sports and e-sports contests.

In a statement, Founder and CEO of Monkey Knife Fight, Bill Asher, said he’s proud of the company’s achievement since its inception in 2017. Asher said the company has distinguished itself from competitors by providing unique experiences for its players, forming strategic partnerships with teams, players unions, and ownership groups, besides acquiring strategic assets to strengthen its position in the market. He added that the company is proud of all its accomplishment over the past years at MKF, believing that the “talented” Bally’s team has the potential to grow and develop “what is already a great business.”

What Will the Deal Achieve?

Thanks to the new platform, the widest reach will allow Bally’s to gain customers in states where sports betting is not yet regulated. The same edge has enabled DraftKings and FanDuel to lead the US sports betting as the two largest sports betting entities. Bally’s will become the third force in DFS now.

In a press release, Bally’s stated that MKF will support its plans to develop sports bettors’ databases in the states with the largest population- such as California, Texas, and Florida. These states are projected to account for up to 25% of US sports betting revenues. Bally’s is also convinced that MKF will allow it to build a player database in Canada, where sports betting could be legalized at any time in the near future. Additionally, the combination will lead to Bally’s developing new and engaging content with MKF for its customers. Having MKF’s DFS platform can also ensure players’ loyalty with Bally’s, who could otherwise move to DraftKings or FanDuel to play fantasy sports betting.

While commenting on the acquisition, President and CEO of Bally’s Corporation, George Papanier, said the company is excited to enter into the high-growth DFS market. He added that Monkey Knife Fight is a unique asset that Bally’s looks forward to incorporating into its constantly growing omnichannel portfolio of land-based casinos and digital platforms. Papanier said that Bally’s brand is committed to providing a top-class DFS platform to sports fans around the country through its properties and services.

The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2021. MKF will get promptly exercisable penny warrants to acquire up to $50 million in Bally’s common shares. In addition, MKF will also receive warrants for up to $20 million in additional Bally’s shares on each of the first and second years of closing.

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