The companies are 2 of the main online betting brands in the UK, with a combined revenue of £1.5 billion. Flutter owns Paddy Power and Betfair, and Stars owns Sky Bet.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation focused in particular on whether, as a result of the deal, customers who choose to place bets online could be offered less favourable odds, less generous promotions or poorer quality products, for example, as a result of reduced innovation in pricing or app experience.
Based on the evidence gathered as part of the investigation, the CMA has found that online betting companies compete strongly for customers. There are a number of large and small online sportsbook operators, in addition to the merging companies, with whom customers frequently open accounts and to whom they could easily switch. These companies include the large operators, bet365, GVC/Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill.
The CMA therefore found that, while the merging companies complete closely, they are among a number of close competitors, and the merger will not worsen the offering to people who choose to bet online.
This is one of several global mergers that the CMA has worked on recently. It has liaised with other competition authorities including the US, Germany and Austria who have also cleared the deal.