DraftKings said late Thursday it will go public on Wall Street Friday, amid a global sporting events shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shareholders of the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) named Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. voted Thursday to approve a deal that will merge the sports betting firm and gaming platform SBTech into a single entity.
SPACs are so-called "blank check" publicly traded firms with no or limited operating assets. By merging with a SPAC, a company doesn't have to go through as many hurdles to go public or sell new shares.
The merger agreement values the combined company at $3.3 billion and will allow DraftKings to begin public trading without holding an initial public offering (IPO). Once the deal is finalized, DraftKings shares of Class A common stock will list on the Nasdaq exchange under the stock ticker “DKNG,” Fox Business reports. The merger creates the only vertically integrated pure-play sports betting and online gaming company based in the United States.
Diamond Eagle announced earlier this month it has received approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to move forward with the merger. DraftKings is expected to go public with more than $500 million in unrestricted cash on hand.
“Today marks another milestone for DraftKings and the future of digital sports entertainment and gaming in America,” said Jason Robins, co-founder and CEO of DraftKings, in a press release Thursday. “By bringing together our leading consumer brand, data science expertise and industry-leading products with SBTech’s proven technology platform, we will accelerate our innovation, growth and scale. I am confident that the new DraftKings will progress our goal of offering the best, most innovative sports and gaming products to our customers.”
In addition to Robins, DraftKings will continue to be led by its management team including co-founder and President, North America, Matt Kalish; co-founder and President, Global Technology and Product, Paul Liberman; Chief Legal Officer, R. Stanton Dodge; and Chief Financial Officer Jason Park. Robins will also serve as Chairman of the Board with Harry Sloan of Diamond Eagle serving as Vice Chair.
DraftKings, which has approximately 2,300 worldwide employees, will maintain its global headquarters in Boston, as well as additional U.S.-based offices in Hoboken, Las Vegas, New York and San Francisco, and international offices including Dublin, Kyiv, Plovdiv, Sofia and Tel Aviv.