DraftKings has announced that it will acquire Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG) for $1.56 billion. The purchase will be an all-stock transaction, no cash. The sports betting company will get GNOG’s brand, products, and arguably most importantly for DraftKings, its database of 5 million customers.
“Our acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming, a brand synonymous with iGaming and entertainment, will enhance our ability to instantly reach a broader consumer base, including Golden Nugget’s loyal ‘iGaming-first’ customers,” said DraftKings’ CEO and chairman Jason Robins.
As part of the deal, DraftKings has entered into a “commercial agreement” with Fertitta Entertainment, Inc., which owns Golden Nugget LLC, Landry’s LLC, and the Houston Rockets. If you suspect this has to do with marketing, you would be correct. Enter Tilman Fertitta, chairman and CEO of GNOG:
“We believe that DraftKings is one of the leading players in this burgeoning space and couldn’t be more excited to lock arms with Jason and the DraftKings family across our entire portfolio of assets, including the Houston Rockets, the Golden Nugget casinos and Landry’s vast portfolio of restaurants. This is a strong commercial agreement for both companies.”
GNOG went public at the end of last year through a reverse merger, acquired by then-already-publicly traded Landcadia Holdings II. Landcadia II was a “special purpose acquisition company,” (SPAQ) created to do one thing: raise money to buy another company, usually a private one that it can take public.
Not at all coincidentally, Landcadia II was created by created by Jefferies Financial Group Inc. and Fertitta Entertainment, Inc. Tilman Fertitta was chairman and CEO.
And so Landcadia II bought GNOG, also owned by Fertitta, for $745 million. In the process, Landcadia changed its own name to Golden Nugget Online Gaming and its ticker to GNOG, just as it was always meant to do.
With today’s announced deal, Tilman Fertitta becomes a member of DraftKings’ Board of Directors and one of the company’s largest shareholders.
More on that commercial agreement from Monday’s press release:
“The commercial agreement will include marketing integrations, sponsorship assets with the Houston Rockets, an expanded retail sportsbook presence, and the optionality to obtain market access on favorable terms through certain Golden Nugget casinos. DraftKings will also become the exclusive daily fantasy sports, sports betting, and iGaming partner of the Houston Rockets and intends to open a sportsbook at the Toyota Center, pending state legalization and regulatory approvals.”
As mentioned, this is an all-stock acquisition. Golden Nugget Online Gaming shareholders will receive 0.365 shares of new DraftKings stock for every share they own of GNOG. Tilman Fertitta owns about 46% of GNOG, so he will naturally have a solid chunk of DraftKings after this. As such, he has agreed to not sell his new DraftKings shares for at least a year.
GNOG’s stock price soared on the news, closing Monday up about 50% at $18.50 per share. DraftKings stock was up slightly.