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Vivid Seats adds DraftKings as investor

US gambling giant DraftKings is investing in the business that is taking ticketing marketplace Vivid Seats public.

The Massachusetts-headquartered betting and fantasy sports group has entered into an agreement with Eldridge Industries, which is associated with Horizon, the New York-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that is to merge with Vivid Seats. Both Eldridge and Horizon are led by Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly.

According to a statement, the investment will be part of the previously announced public investment in public equity (PIPE) financing for the transaction, with DraftKings assuming a portion of Eldridge’s commitment. The closing of the investment is conditioned upon completion of the business combination between Horizon and Vivid Seats, which was expected to be approved by Horizon’s shareholders yesterday (October 14). The merger – which values Vivid Seats at $1.95bn – is expected to complete on October 18.

Stan Chia, chief executive of Vivid Seats, said: “Todd and the Horizon team continue to provide strategic value as our merger partner, just one of our transaction’s unique, differentiating factors. We are delighted to have the support of DraftKings, a premier, customer-centric destination for fans.”

DraftKings and Boehly have a lengthy history, as the company has long been one of MLB’s key business partners, and Eldridge in 2017 led a $100m funding round for the then-privately held DraftKings.

DraftKings will have an option to sell its Vivid Seats shares to Eldridge one year after the closing of the SPAC merger, at a price of $9.77 per share. Horizon Acquisition’s stock, trading on the New York Stock Exchange, closed on October 14 at $11.28 per share.

DraftKings is currently attempting to buy Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain in a $22bn deal, following a busy period of investment and acquisition.

Jason Robins, chief executive of DraftKings, said: “Like DraftKings, Vivid Seats is a technology-driven company aligned very closely with our customer-centric business model. We look forward to exploring future marketing and promotional collaborations with Vivid Seats that further enhance DraftKings’ ability to offer an unmatched consumer experience.”