A fantasy sports company co-founded by a Forfar entrepreneur and her St Andrews University graduate husband has emerged as a merger target for betting giant PaddyPower Betfair.
Lesley and Nigel Eccles founded FanDuel in Edinburgh in 2007 with their friends Tom Griffiths, Rob Jones and Chris Stafford.
Targeting the US market, it grew to be one of just two Scottish tech ‘unicorn’ businesses with a valuation of more than $1 billion before the Eccles left the company to pursue new ventures last year.
They retain a stake in the company.
PaddyPower Betfair’s approach to FanDuel comes just days after the US relaxed its gambling laws.
The FTSE 100 firm said discussions were under way with FanDuel to “create a combined business to target the prospective US sports betting market”.
No financial details of the transaction were given.
“Discussions are ongoing and there is no certainty as to whether agreement will be reached, or as to the terms or timing of any transaction,” PaddyPower Betfair said in a stock market announcement.
FanDuel is a major player in the US fantasy sports market, where players pick teams and compete against others for cash prizes.
The US Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law which bans gambling on individual sporting events.
States will now be able to choose individually whether to legalise sports betting.
Following the move, FanDuel said: “The Supreme Court’s decision, which paves the way for states to legalise sports betting, creates an enormous opportunity for FanDuel as our platform, brand and customer base provide a unique and compelling foundation to meaningfully participate.”
Since leaving FanDuel, Nigel Eccles has set up an e-sports gaming company with Rob Jones called Flick.
Lesley revealed to The Courier last month she is also planning a new company which will operate in the health and wellbeing sector.