Paddy Power leads FTSE higher on U.S. swoop

Paddy Power leads FTSE higher on U.S. swoop

The news follows Monday's US Supreme Court, paving the way for individual states to legalise the practice.

Paddy Power Betfair is considering merging part of its business with a fantasy sports company to target the U.S. sports betting market.

Paddy Power also said that there is "no certainty" as to whether an agreement will be reached.

In early morning trading, Paddy Power shares gained 0.8% at 7,825p. JPMorgan Chase increased their target price on Paddy Power Betfair from GBX 8,420 ($114.22) to GBX 8,690 ($117.88) and gave the company a "neutral" rating in a report on Friday, January 12th.

Officials for Paddy Power-Betfair have said in the past month that they planned to launch a sports-betting channel if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey. New Jersey is among the states expected to enact legislation within weeks. FanDuel and DraftKings, the market leaders in the US fantasy sports industry, ended merger talks past year over concerns that the Federal Trade Commission would not look favorably on the deal.

FanDuel was valued at more than $1 billion before the crackdown began.

The bookmaker, which also runs the leading horse racing television and betting network in the United States and has an online casino business in New Jersey and and a year ago paid $48m to acquire DRAFT, a USA fantasy sports site.

The LSR report noted that FanDuel CEO Matt King recently indicated that his company would be interested in getting into the sports betting space. It offers exchange sports betting and pari-mutuel betting products, fixed odds games betting, online games and casino, and business-to-business services, as well as peer to peer games, including online bingo and poker.

Such websites have slipped through the net of the U.S. ban on sports betting because they are seen as games of skill rather than of chance but an alliance would help Paddy Power push betting products through the site.