The FTSE 100 company’s share of the US online sportsbook market in the last quarter was an astonishing 45%

The smartest deal, in hindsight, done in recent years by a FTSE 100 company must be Flutter Entertainment’s purchase in 2018 of a majority stake in FanDuel, a US business running online sports-based fantasy games for prizes. It was a punt that leadership in the fantasy market could be converted into something very big if US rules were liberalised to allow locals to bet on sport for serious dollars in European style.

At the time, Flutter, then called Paddy Power Betfair (which still describes the bulk of the company), viewed the deal as akin to “an option” on US liberalisation, says chief executive Peter Jackson. But the bullish projection has played out in spades. The US supreme court indeed changed the rules and individual US states are opening up. Back in 2018, Flutter paid $158m for its 58% stake in FanDuel and threw in a few US assets it already owned. When it topped up and took its interest to 95% at the end of last year, the additional 37% cost the rather chunkier sum of $4.2bn (£3bn).

Related: Fox takes legal action to lower price of stake it may buy in betting firm FanDuel

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