Penn National Gaming, Inc (NASDAQ: PENN) shares surged on Wednesday following news it has agreed to buy a stake in publisher Barstool Sports Inc. for $163 million.
Penn National, a casino operator, plans to take a 36% stake in Barstool Sports, which produces sports media and live events, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The deal will involve Penn National paying $135 million in cash and $28 million in nonvoting convertible preferred stock. Barstool Sports is being valued at $450 million under the deal.
The report said Penn National plans to boost its stake to about 50% in three years for an additional $62 million. There are options for boosting the stake beyond that at a later date.
Penn National Gaming, North America’s largest regional gaming operator, teams up with @barstoolsports, America’s most influential sports lifestyle brand, to create a one-of-a-kind sports betting experience.https://t.co/DlDOPBA4VU pic.twitter.com/r6lORkNWM3
— Penn National Gaming (@PNGamingInc) January 29, 2020
The move is being seen primarily as a marketing ploy, with Penn National hoping to use Barstool Sports to boost its casinos and an in-the-works online sports betting app that would be promoted on Barstool's media products, WSJ reported. Penn National operates 41 gaming properties in 19 states.
Barstool Sports was founded in 2003 in Boston as a gambling newspaper.
Barstool Sports majority owner The Chernin Group will keep a 36% stake in the company, with certain Barstool employees, including founder David Portnoy and CEO Erika Nardini, keeping partial stakes as well.
Emergency Press Conference - All Aboard the Barstool Rocket Ship pic.twitter.com/NWK2n9PoIP
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 29, 2020
Penn National Gaming shares jumped 12.74% on Wednesday and were trading at $29.55.
Photo credit: Baishampayan Ghose, Flickr