Due to an array of factors, Flutter Entertainment (OTC:PDYPY) stock wasn’t the cream of the crop among gaming equities in the first half of the year, but at least one research firm sees opportunity in shares of the FanDuel parent.
In a note out Monday, Deutsche Bank upgraded Flutter to “buy” from “hold” while noting the shares look cheap following a stretch of what the bank calls “material” under-performance relative to rivals.
We see a solid H1 performance, with sports showing a strong recovery, and continued momentum in the US and Australia, but a marked decline in iGaming (driven by Poker, which had a significant spike up in Q2 FY20) reflecting particularly tough comps,” said the bank.
The poker comments are relevant because Flutter owns PokerStars, which is the world’s largest online poker site.
Rocky First Half for Flutter Stock
Shares of the UK-based gaming behemoth were hindered by some unusual circumstances in the first half of the year.
For example, the state of Kentucky is still pressing Flutter to pay it $1.3 billion stemming from a decade-long spat pertaining to online poker litigation. The gaming company has the resources to cover that liability, but its liquidity could be constrained if it’s forced to rapidly pay out that figure in lump some fashion.
Compounding the operators woes in the January through June period was the May departure of FanDuel CEO Matt King — news Flutter admitted could affect the timing of its efforts to potentially spin-off its plum US assets.
Speaking of FanDuel, perhaps the biggest curve ball thrown at Flutter investors in the first six months of the year was Fox Corp. (NASDAQ:FOXA) in March filing a suit against Flutter in New York’s Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS) regarding the pricing of an 18.5 percent slice of FanDuel it has rights to acquire.
“The big hit, though, was from Fox, which argues that it should pay the price which Flutter paid Fastball for its 37% stake in FanDuel last December,” said Deutsche Bank.
Flutter Price Target Pared
While Deutsche Bank upgraded Flutter stock, it did lower its price forecast on the name, citing the aforementioned mentioned FanDuel/Fox and Kentucky risks.
Ill will between the gaming company and the media giant is palpable as the latter has threatened to pull FanDuel ads from its airwaves while Flutter previously dinged the FOX Bet business and noted Fox networks aren’t a big part of its advertising spend.
Deutsche did, however, boost price targets on Flutter rivals Entain Plc (OTC:GMVHY) and Playtech’s (OTC:PYTCY).
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