Eccles buoyed by FanDuel value ahead of court case

Lesley Eccles screenshot

Lesley Eccles: ‘looking forward to day in court’ (pic: Terry Murden)

FanDuel co-founder Lesley Eccles says she is “looking forward to our day in court” after Flutter Entertainment last week acquired more shares that valued the company at $11.5 billion.

Mrs Eccles, her husband Nigel, and fellow founders Tom Griffiths and Rob Jones, who created FanDuel in Edinburgh, launched a legal action earlier this year claiming the company was valued at just $565m when it was sold in 2018 to what was then Paddy Power Betfair.

Under the merger terms the preferred shareholders were entitled to the first $559 million in proceeds, leaving common shareholders, including the founders, with nothing.

Last week, Paddy Power Betfair owner Flutter, said it had agreed to buy the entire 37.2% interest in New York based FanDuel held by Fastball Holdings – a consortium led by private equity group KKR – for $4.18bn (£3.13bn).

Ms Eccles said in a social media post: “Just going to leave this here… in 2017 FanDuel was valued at $1.2bn, in 2018 it was valued at $565m… which meant the founders got 0% of the new company… in 2020 it was sold at a valuation of $11.5bn.

“Looking forward to our day in court.”

Flutter bought its controlling stake in FanDuel in 2018 and the latest acquisition takes its interest in the business to 95% from 57.8%. The remaining 5% will continue to be held by existing co-shareholder Boyd Interactive Gaming.

The company said on Friday that it had placed around 8 million shares at 14,000p each. The placing shares represent approximately 5.2% of the issued share capital and the price is a discount of around 2.1% to the closing share price on Thursday.

The legal action pursued by the co-founders is against private equity firms Shamrock Capital Advisors and KKR & Co claiming they colluded to wipe out common shareholders and “enrich themselves”.

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