On Monday, a report from The Information stated that FanDuel, along with rival DraftKings, was a bidder for The Athletic.
However, it appears that interest doesn’t exist on FanDuel’s end. Per Boardroom, Flutter CEO Peter Jackson denied that the company had any interest in buying The Athletic during an earnings call on Tuesday. Flutter is the parent company of FanDuel.
In the call, Jackson accused private equity backers of trying to generate interest in the company.
After reviewing an audio recording of the earnings call, FanDuel Director of Publicity Kevin Hennessy relayed Jackson’s reaction to the report to Boardroom:
“That is not something that we are bidding for,” the CEO said. “I mean, that’s a private equity firm who’s trying to get some interest in an asset they’re selling.”
Man, that quote gives me life.
It also doesn’t seem to be false! This year alone, The Athletic has been rumored to be in talks about a sale and/or merger with Axios and the New York Times, with neither discussion coming to anything. In September, the company hired investment bank LionTree to hunt for a buyer, placing a value on the company at $750 million. There were no public reports about interest from any buyers until The Information’s report about FanDuel and DraftKings this week, and it took just a day for one of those potential bidders to deny any interest in purchasing the company.