DraftKings Called Favored Short By Analyst Jim Chanos, Remains Bearish

Kynikos Associates founder Jim Chanos is still bearish on DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG), despite the fact that the online sportsbook operator’s shares surged nearly 22 percent this week.

Chanos DraftKings
Kynikos founder Jim Chanos, seen here in 2015. He told CNBC today he remains short DraftKings. (Image: Rick Wilking/Reuters)

In an interview today with CNBC, the famed short seller reiterated his negative views on the gaming company, calling it one of his favorite shorts. Chanos revealed his firm’s bearish position in DraftKings on CNBC last December, and the stock is down about 28 percent since then.

That sparked a public rift with DraftKings cofounder and CEO Jason Robins, who criticized Chanos’s math skills on Twitter. In today’s CNBC interview, the Kynikos founder acknowledged he made a mathematical error in his original comments on DraftKings, and that the gaming company’s legal team sent him correspondence to that effect. But he’s still forecasting downside for the stock.

This is the important theme I want to get across. For stocks that have gone down, a lot of fundamentals have actually dropped at or worse than the stocks have declined,” said Chanos.

In talking about “my friend Jason’s company” — meaning DraftKings — Chanos notes the consensus 2025 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) estimate was $360 million when the Kynikos founder appeared on CNBC last December. It’s now $260 million.

Gloomy DraftKings View

In his initial assessment of the gaming company, Kynikos boss said the business model is flawed, and the operator is destined to continue losing money.

While some rivals, including BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook, are eyeing breakeven or modest EBITDA profits in late 2023, the view on DraftKings is more murky. Some analysts say it could be 2024 or 2025 before the Boston-based company ceases losing money.

“In effect, DraftKings today is selling at the same 2025 EBITDA multiple as it was in December,” said Chanos.

That implies the gaming company remains overvalued. Chanos adds that since his CNBC appearance a few months ago, DraftKings’ 2022 EBITDA loss estimate has gone to $900 million from $500 million.

“Things are getting worse there, not better,” according to the short seller.

At the close of US markets today, DraftKings stock resides 73.62% below its 52-week high, and 31.06% above its 52-week low. On that basis, the shares need to more than triple to return to the old high of $74.38.

Wynn, Too

Chanos has a lengthy history of being bearish on China and some of that country’s most widely followed stocks, and that view isn’t changing.

On a related note, he told CNBC today that Kynikos maintains a short position in Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), which operates two integrated resorts in the Chinese territory of Macau.

Chanos revealed that bearish position last September when Wynn was trading around $80, saying the shares should reside in the $40s. The stock closed at $79.65 today.

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