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PENN Entertainment and ESPN enter online sports betting partnership

8 Aug 2023

(PRESS RELEASE) -- PENN Entertainment, Inc. today announced that it has entered into a transformative, exclusive U.S. online sports betting agreement with ESPN, Inc. and ESPN Enterprises, Inc. PENN will discuss the ESPN transaction as well as its second quarter 2023 results on its previously scheduled conference call and webcast tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. ET. For further information, the Company has posted a presentation to its website regarding the transaction, which can be found here.

ESPN Transaction Highlights:

Exclusive Right to the #1 U.S. Sports Brand: PENN has secured the exclusive right to the ESPN Bet trademark for OSB in the U.S. for an initial 10-year term which may be extended for an additional 10 years upon mutual agreement.

Launch of ESPN Bet: The online Barstool Sportsbook will be rebranded ESPN Bet in the fall of 2023; TheScore Bet will continue to operate in Canada.

Deep Integration: ESPN Bet, operated by PENN Interactive, will benefit from exclusive promotional services across ESPN platforms including programming, content, and access to ESPN talent.

ESPN Becomes a Highly Aligned, Long-Term Strategic Partner: Agreement enables efficient customer acquisition and retention spend across premier sports content.

- Mutually beneficial relationship through ongoing collaboration and warrants
  • PENN has agreed to make $1.5 billion in cash payments to ESPN paid over the initial ten-year term and grant ESPN approximately $5001 million of warrants to purchase approximately 31.8 million PENN common shares that will vest ratably over 10 years, in exchange for media, marketing services, brand and other rights provided by ESPN
  • Upon ESPN Bet meeting certain U.S. OSB market share performance thresholds, ESPN could receive bonus warrants to purchase up to an additional approximately 6.4 million PENN common shares
- ESPN will have the option, at its discretion, to designate one non-voting Board observer or, upon completion of year 3 of the agreement, designate a Board member subject to satisfying gaming regulatory approval(s) and a minimum ownership threshold
Significant Value Creation Potential: Provides an estimated $500 million to $1.0 billion+ of annual long-term Adjusted EBITDA potential in our Interactive segment.

Rebranded iCasino Product: Powered by our new promotional engine, our new app will include a separate Hollywood-branded iCasino product in those states where permitted.

Barstool Divestiture

PENN Divests Barstool Sports to Founder David Portnoy: PENN sold 100% of the Barstool Sports, Inc. (“Barstool”) common stock to David Portnoy in exchange for certain non-compete and other restrictive covenants. PENN also has the right to receive 50% of the gross proceeds received by David Portnoy in any subsequent sale or other monetization event of Barstool

Jay Snowden, Chief Executive Officer and President of PENN, commented, “This transformative, exclusive agreement with ESPN marks another major milestone in PENN’s evolution from a pure-play U.S. regional gaming operator to a North American entertainment leader. ESPN Bet will be deeply integrated with ESPN’s broad editorial, content, digital and linear product, and sports programming ecosystem. ESPN Bet will also benefit from PENN’s operational experience, extensive market access and proprietary technology platform, which successfully debuted in the U.S. this July.”

Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman of ESPN, said, “After meeting with Jay and the PENN team, it was clear that they were the right long-term strategic partner to build ESPN Bet into a leading U.S. sports betting platform. We are confident that the combination of our unparalleled audience along with PENN’s operational expertise and state-of-the-art technology provides us with a tremendous opportunity to serve the ever-growing number of consumers interested in betting.”

Mr. Snowden continued, “In connection with the transaction, we are selling Barstool back to founder David Portnoy. Barstool has been a great partner and we are thankful to Dave Portnoy, Erika Ayers, Dan Katz and their team for helping to rapidly scale our digital footprint across 16 jurisdictions in the U.S. and introducing their audience to our retail and digital products. The divestiture allows Barstool to return to its roots of providing unique and authentic content to its loyal audience without the restrictions associated with a publicly traded, licensed gaming company.”

“Our agreement with ESPN will provide us access to the largest ecosystem in sports, with 105 million+ monthly unique digital visitors, an audience of more than 370 million across social platforms, 25 million ESPN+ subscribers, and the nation’s #1 fantasy database. PENN’s ability to leverage the leading sports media brands in both the U.S. and Canada with ESPN and theScore, combined with our newly launched sports betting app, will allow us to significantly expand our digital footprint and catapult ESPN Bet into a strong podium position in this space. We believe we can achieve substantial adjusted EBITDA in our Interactive Segment over the coming years – and this will translate to very strong free cash flow generation for the Company and value creation for our shareholders,” concluded Mr. Snowden.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

The Non-GAAP Financial Measures used in this press release include Adjusted EBITDA. This non-GAAP financial measure should not be considered a substitute for, nor superior to, financial results and measures determined or calculated in accordance with GAAP.

We define Adjusted EBITDA as earnings before interest expense, net; interest income; income taxes; depreciation and amortization; stock-based compensation; debt extinguishment charges; impairment losses; insurance recoveries, net of deductible charges; changes in the estimated fair value of our contingent purchase price obligations; gain or loss on disposal of assets; the difference between budget and actual expense for cash-settled stock-based awards; pre-opening expenses; non-cash gains/losses associated with REIT transactions; non-cash gains/losses associated with partial and step acquisitions as measured in accordance with ASC 805 “Business Combinations”; and other. Adjusted EBITDA is inclusive of income or loss from unconsolidated affiliates, with our share of non-operating items (such as interest expense, net; income taxes; depreciation and amortization; and stock-based compensation expense) added back for Barstool (prior to our acquisition of Barstool on 17 February 2023) and our Kansas Entertainment, LLC joint venture. Adjusted EBITDA is inclusive of rent expense associated with our triple net operating leases with our REIT landlords. Although Adjusted EBITDA includes rent expense associated with our triple net operating leases, we believe Adjusted EBITDA is useful as a supplemental measure in evaluating the performance of our consolidated results of operations.

Adjusted EBITDA has economic substance because it is used by management as a performance measure to analyze the performance of our business, and is especially relevant in evaluating large, long-lived casino-hotel projects because it provides a perspective on the current effects of operating decisions separated from the substantial non-operational depreciation charges and financing costs of such projects. We present Adjusted EBITDA because it is used by some investors and creditors as an indicator of the strength and performance of ongoing business operations, including our ability to service debt, and to fund capital expenditures, acquisitions and operations. These calculations are commonly used as a basis for investors, analysts and credit rating agencies to evaluate and compare operating performance and value companies within our industry. In order to view the operations of their casinos on a more stand-alone basis, gaming companies, including us, have historically excluded from their Adjusted EBITDA calculations certain corporate expenses that do not relate to the management of specific casino properties. However, Adjusted EBITDA is not a measure of performance or liquidity calculated in accordance with GAAP. Adjusted EBITDA information is presented as a supplemental disclosure, as management believes that it is a commonly used measure of performance in the gaming industry and that it is considered by many to be a key indicator of the Company’s operating results.

Adjusted EBITDA is not calculated in the same manner by all companies and, accordingly, may not be an appropriate measure of comparing performance among different companies.

The Company does not provide a reconciliation of projected Adjusted EBITDA because it is unable to predict with reasonable accuracy the value of certain adjustments that may significantly impact the Company’s results, including realized and unrealized gains and losses on equity securities, re-measurement of cash-settled stock-based awards, contingent purchase payments associated with prior acquisitions, and income tax (benefit) expense, which are dependent on future events that are out of the Company’s control or that may not be reasonably predicted.
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