British Columbia Supreme Court approves Penn National’s acquisition of theScore

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has issued a final order approving the deal that will see Penn National Gaming acquire Toronto-based theScore.

This comes after the deal received approval from the Minister of Canadian Heritage under the Investment Canada Act, last week.

Another approval for the deal

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has now approved Penn National’s plans to acquire Score Media and Gaming, theScore’s parent company.

With approval from the Supreme Court, the deal is now expected to close next week on 19 October 2021, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the remaining conditions to closing contained in the arrangement agreement with Penn National.

Earlier this week, theScore announced that shareholders in the company approved Penn National’s acquisition of the business.

According to the announcement, holders of theScore’s’ Class A Subordinate Voting Shares and Special Voting Shares have voted in favour of the acquisition. The announcement revealed that 99.6% of shareholders voted in favour of the deal.

Furthermore, since July theScore has also been developing its own platform as part of a wider overhaul of company operations.

Penn’s deal to acquire theScore

Back in August, Penn announced plans to acquire theScore’s parent company, Score Media and Gaming, in a deal worth approximately $2bn.

This deal builds on an existing partnership between the companies from 2019, where Penn provided market access to theScore’s sportsbook product in several US states.

According to the initial announcement, Penn announced plans to acquire the Canadian business for $2bn in a combination of cash and stock. Penn expects to fund the approximately $1 billion cash portion of the consideration using existing cash on its balance sheet.

Under the terms of the agreement, theScore shareholders will receive $17 in cash and 0.2398 shares of Penn National common stock for each theScore share. 

Once the deal is complete, Penn shareholders will hold 93% of the company’s outstanding shares, while theScore shareholders will hold 7%. theScore will continue to operate as a stand-alone business and will remain headquartered in Toronto. The Levy family will continue to lead the business.

Penn’s deal to acquire theScore comes as the country has legalized single-event sports wagering.

Sports betting in Canada

Single-event sports betting became legal in Canada in August of this year with the passage of Bill C-218.

Bill C-218, also known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, legalized single-event sports betting in Canada by repealing paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code to permit single-event sports betting. 

Up until now, sports betting in Canada was only legal via parlay wagering, this meant that it was illegal to place a wager on an individual event. 

In February 2020, House of Commons MP Kevin Waugh introduced bill C-218 to the legislature. Then in November, the bill was picked up by the Canadian government.

After several readings and debates, the bill cleared the Senate and received Royal Assent in June 2021.

On 27 August, Bill C-218 came into effect, paving the way for Canada’s provincial lotteries to begin offering single-event wagering. The delay between the passage of the bill and the date it came into effect created an opportunity for more sports betting options to prepare for launch.