US casino giant MGM Resorts is making moves to acquire the newly rebranded Entain Group, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Formerly GVC Group Holdings, Entain currently operates several global gaming brands, including Ladbrokes, Coral, Bwin, PartyPoker , SportingBet, Gala Bingo, Eurobet and Betboo. Crucially it is already a partner with MGM in the burgeoning US sports betting and gaming market, where their joint venture BetMGM is already challenging the leading DraftKings and FanDuel brands.
The WSJ reports that MGM’s latest offer is the second approach after an approximate $10bn all-cash overture was ‘rebuffed’. However it appears this new offer will have a substantial stock component.
The move echoes the recent deal put together which saw Caesars Entertainment agree a £2.9bn takeover of William Hill which is expected to be completed in Spring. Currently sports betting stocks in the US have been outperforming most other sectors, with investors keen to buy in after DraftKing’s move into the stock market and the huge jump in value of Penn National after it acquired a large stake of media company Barstool Sports.
All this activity will also be putting pressure on MGM governance to make a bigger play in sports betting with existing partner Entain being its obvious choice. As with the Caesars/William Hill tie up, there would still be a question as to how much MGM wants the non-US gambling assets and whether they would be divested further down the line, but Entain’s investment in areas with massive potential such as South America should be appealing to an international firm.
Meanwhile Entain has confirmed that the appointment of chief governance officer Robert Hoskin to the company’s board of directors, while Jane Anscombe has stepped down as non-executive director to pursue other opportunities. Anscombe joined the Board in June 2017 and has chaired the remuneration committee and served on the nomination, CSR and audit committees. Her successor as remuneration committee chair will be announced in due course.
Barry Gibson, Chairman of Entain, said: “As previously stated, Robert has made an outstanding contribution to Entain in his 15 years at the Group. He is responsible for regulation, legal and governance, all of which are central to our long-term growth plans to build a responsible and sustainable business of global scale and world class standard.
“On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Jane for her significant contribution and commitment to Entain over the past three years. In particular I would like to recognise her hard work and engagement on the company’s remuneration and strategic transition. Entain has become a stronger company and Jane has our thanks for her efforts.”