News Corp is scaling down its investment in Australian sportsbook Betr, the Australian Financial Review (AFR.com) has reported.
The company, which is the global media conglomerate of the Murdoch Family, seeks to “water down” its investment in Betr – the sportsbook venture of Matthew Tripp – in which it owns a 47% stake.
Investment concerns have grown due to the operator’s “aggressive cash burn” since the bookmaker’s launch during last year’s Spring Carnival.
AFR reported that Betr has weighed on News Corp’s balance sheet, and “executives assured investors that they did not immediately expect to provide additional capital”.
As such News Corp will not contribute any financing to Betr’s recent agreement to acquire the Australian wagering arm of PointsBet, which was agreed to in January.
Instead, Betr will separately finance its acquisition by raising AUS $250m through a funding agreement reached with Sydney-based investment bank Barrenjoey.
Andrew Menz, Betr Chief Executive, replied to the AFR’s article stating that the company had “never hidden its aggressive growth objectives” in which it had gained “a great growth momentum” following its Spring Carnival launch.
However, in its interim H1 update, News Corp accounted for six months of affiliate-related losses totalling AUS $33m – in which Group CFO Susan Panuccio told investors that costs were primarily attributed to News Corp’s investment in Betr.
Founded in 2021, Betr was formed by Matthew Tripp securing a three-way tie-up between his TGW tech group , News Corp and gambling investment fund Tekkorp Corp Capital.
Venture backers had supported Tripp’s vision to establish Betr as Australia’s next mass market sportsbook, accounting for regulatory changes to disrupt the playing field of sports betting across Australian states.
Tripp is determined that Betr will operate as a proprietary sportsbook, operating its own technology platform, in which he personally undertook a AUS $75 investment in BetMakers to serve as its exclusive technology supplier.
Betr agreed to acquire the Australian unit of PointsBet in a move to enlarge its customer base by +200,000 players and take market share from the online competitors of Ladbrokes Australia (Entain Plc) and Tabcorp’s TAB brand.