Dave Portnoy. Photo via Zach Catanzareti/Flickr

Inspiration Spotlight: Is Dave Portnoy’s Barstool Buyback the Greatest Business Deal of the Decade?

Dave Portnoy once again owns Barstool Sports, the company he founded 20 years ago.

On Aug. 8, Penn National entered into a 10-year, $2 billion sports betting deal with Disney’s ESPN to launch ESPN BET, a branded sportsbook in the U.S. As a result, Penn has to divest Barstool Sports.

Backstory: In January 2020, Penn Entertainment, then known as Penn National Gaming, paid $163 million for a 36% stake in Barstool, with Chernin Group left with the same percentage stake. This past February, Penn completed the previously announced acquisition of Barstool, paying $388 million for the 64% stake in Barstool did not already own.

Barstool Sports and its founder Dave Portnoy are lightning rods in the sports and entertainment industry, loathed and loved for its embrace of no-filter, uncensored podcasts and articles. The brand has a massive following, but their penchant for creating controversy was presumably too much for Penn and Disney to handle.

Takeaway: Portnoy now owns 100% of the company he founded for the first time in 10 years. The divestiture comes with certain non-compete clauses.

Andrew Pompliano puts it pretty succinctly:

A version of this article originally appeared in StartupNation’s weekly newsletter, The Start. Click here to subscribe!

Photo credit: Dave Portnoy/Zach Catanzareti,Flickr

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