DraftKings Goes Public, Begins Trading Friday Amid Lack of Live Sports

The new company was expected to have a market value of $3.3 billion

Even though there are no sports to bet on, DraftKings, the popular sports betting platform, on Friday became a publicly traded company after closing its business combination with sports gambling-tech company SBTech and Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp.

The company’s stock, which trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “DKNG,” opened Friday at $20.49 per share.

“Today marks another milestone for DraftKings and the future of digital sports entertainment and gaming in America,” DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins said in a statement. “By bringing together our leading consumer brand, data science expertise and industry-leading products with SBTech’s proven technology platform, we will accelerate our innovation, growth and scale. I am confident that the new DraftKings will progress our goal of offering the best, most innovative sports and gaming products to our customers.”

In December, DraftKings agreed to a merger with former Hollywood executives Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky’s blank-check company Diamond Eagle Acquisition SBTech. The tie-up was expected to give the new company a market value of $3.3 billion.

In merging with Diamond Eagle, DraftKings was spared many of the hurdles typically required to go public or sell new shares.

It’s an interesting time for DraftKings to go public, as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to keep people in their homes, most businesses and industries shutdown and sporting venues dark. There’s no baseball, basketball, hockey or soccer games currently being played due to government-issued stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines. And the next question on the table will be whether the National Football League will be able to start on time in September.

When DraftKings combined with Diamond Eagle and SBTech the company anticipated having more than $500 million of unrestricted cash on the balance sheet.

DraftKings has approximately 2,300 worldwide employees and will maintain its global headquarters in Boston, as well as additional U.S.-based offices in Hoboken, Las Vegas, New York and San Francisco, and international offices including Dublin, Kyiv, Plovdiv, Sofia and Tel Aviv.

In addition to Robins as CEO, DraftKings will continue to be led by co-founder and North American president Matt Kalish; co-founder and president of global technology and product, Paul Liberman; chief legal officer, R. Stanton Dodge; and chief financial officer Jason Park. Robins will also serve as chairman of the board with Harry Sloan of Diamond Eagle serving as vice chair.