Dave Portnoy buys back Barstool Sports for $1 in Penn-ESPN deal

In a surprising turn of events, Dave Portnoy, also known as El Presidente, has regained control of Barstool Sports after selling the company a decade ago. Portnoy revealed that he sold the company for around $500 million and bought it back for just $1 following the announcement of the PENN Entertainment-ESPN deal.

The deal between PENN and ESPN, valued at $1.5 billion, has been well-received by investors. During an appearance on "Varney & Co.," Portnoy expressed his excitement about the deal, stating that it ensures Barstool's longevity for the next few decades.

PENN Entertainment initially acquired a 36% stake in Barstool Sports for $163 million in 2020. The company then launched the Barstool Sportsbook mobile app in 12 different states throughout 2021. In February 2023, PENN acquired the remaining shares of the company for $388 million.

As part of its transition away from Barstool, PENN reached a 10-year, $2 billion deal with ESPN, agreeing to rebrand the Barstool Sportsbook as "ESPN Bet."

While Portnoy expressed his respect for the PENN team, he acknowledged that being associated with a regulated industry limited Barstool's content. He stated that the regulated industry was not the best fit for the type of content Barstool produces, and that the deal with ESPN was a win-win for both parties.

Portnoy also emphasized the importance of free speech and the ability to express oneself without censorship. He announced that Barstool Sports would return to its roots as a "pirate ship" where they can freely express themselves.

Portnoy discussed the challenges faced by Barstool Sports in the gambling industry, noting that the regulated nature of the industry presented unforeseen hurdles. He expressed his desire to go back to the free-flowing nature of Barstool Sports before the PENN acquisition.

Overall, this unexpected turn of events sees Dave Portnoy reclaiming control of Barstool Sports, citing the need for freedom of expression and a return to the company's original spirit. The PENN-ESPN deal has been viewed positively by investors and is expected to pave the way for Barstool's continued success in the coming years.


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