Barstool Sports Sells 36% Stake to Penn National for $163m

After four years of rapid expansion and an estimated monthly traffic of 10 million visitors, Barstool Sports turned the next chapter of its development story by signing a $163 million deal with Penn National Gaming.

Barstool Sports Seals $163m Deal with Penn National

Casino operator Penn National Gaming (PNG) has acquired a 36% stake in Barstool Sports, a sports blog that has since its inception shifted focus onto video content and podcasts. The deal has cost PNG estimated $163 million and marks an expansion move into the online sports publishing space. Scaling up on the value of the deal, Barstool’s capitalization stands at $450 million.

The payment is split into $135 million paid in cash and additional $28 million in non-voting convertible preferred stock, the official press release said.

This is just an initial investment, though, as PNG plans to round off its stake up to 50% within three years, paying another $62 million for that as well. Later, PNG and Barstool will negotiate a transaction that would secure the company – Penn National – a controlling stake.

As per the current deal, PNG is Barstool’s exclusive partner for a period of at least 40 years, including IP rights across both the sports betting and iGaming verticals. As a result of the deal, there has been some shift in shares as well.

Quick Reshuffle of Stock

Before the deal, The Chernin Group owned 60% of Barstool Sports, but this stock reshuffling has left it with 36% in stock. Another 28% is owned by Barstool’s employees, including Erika Nardini and Dave Portnoy, founder and CEO respectively.

Moving forward, Barstool and Penn National should close the deal within Q1 2020, with PNG just recently posting a 53.1% year-over-year drop in its net income, even though revenue went up 47.8%. Revenue ended up $5.30 billion on December 31, 2019, marking a significant uptick from a year before when it stood at $3.59 billion.

Nevertheless, the expansion of the investment portfolio has led to bigger spending and a decline in net revenue, which Penn will now seek to make up for in 2020, after the acquisition of online sports betting brand Pinnacle and now Barstool Sports.

What the Executives Think

Speaking on the occasion of the acquisition, Portnoy expressed his satisfaction with the project has gone so far. “Barstool has a deep sports and gaming history,” Portnoy said adding that from the moment his team met with PNG, all knew they were onto a game-changing partnership.

Commenting on the partnership further, PNG President and CEO, Jay Snowden, had this to add:

“With its leading digital content, well-known brand and deep roots in sports betting, Barstool Sports is the ideal partner for Penn National and will enable us to attract a new, younger demographic, which will nicely complement our existing customer database.”

The Chernin Group’s Mike Kerns, similarly shared his excitement to work with Penn National and push Barstool Sports into the future. According to Kerns, Portnoy and Nardini’s vision and strategy for the brand has made a rapid growth over the previous four years possible, culminating with the deal today.

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