- »Entain Unveils Employee Shareholder Program
Entain Unveils Employee Shareholder Program
Gaming operator Entain has launched a share ownership plan with more than 22,000 of its employees, as negotiations remain ongoing in its bid to takeover Australian-based sportsbook Tabcorp.
Gambling Insider reports Entain’s group-wide share plan will allow employees in the UK and abroad to profit from the growth of the company’s global business.
Around 22,500 workers at all levels of the business can apply to join Entain’s ShareSave plan.
In the UK, Entain has 2,885 Ladbrokes and Coral shops, which means almost 14,000 retail workers can apply for the plan.
Entain says its ShareSave plan will initially be offered to colleagues working in countries that represent 99 percent of its workforce, such as the Philippines, India, and Bulgaria.
Monthly contributions will start at just five pounds or US$6.89 or more and Entain has capped the total to 100 pounds to reflect its global business and the currency differences across the workforce.
Employees can choose to save a monthly sum of five to 100 pounds over the course of three years.
At the end of this time, each employee will be allowed to buy shares in Entain for 20 percent less than their market value.
The new plan is set to overtake previous share plans introduced in markets and by companies that have become part of Entain through acquisitions.
Entain chief executive officer Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: “Entain has been one of the highest performing companies in the FTSE-100 over the past year, which is the result of hard work and efforts from teams across our international business.
“Building strong customer-centric cultures where everyone contributors and shares in our continued success is really important, so this plan is designed to be attractive and accessible to all.”
Shareholders push for Tabcorp demerger
Tabcorp shareholders are said to be pushing for the company’s wagering arm to be separated from its lottery arm sooner rather than later.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that as shareholders agitate, British gambling giant Entain, which owns the Ladbrokes brand, and US private equity fund Apollo have both made circa $3 billion offers for Tabcorp’s bookmaking and media division, while market watchers expect Rupert Murdoch to be interested given his Fox Corporation’s recent moves into the nascent US sports betting market.
The $10 billion group has not given any update on the sale process to investors since its half-year earnings results a month ago when it said it was carefully assessing the highly conditional offers that would need to jump through significant regulatory hoops.
That has renewed calls from some investors for Tabcorp to unwind its 2017 merger with the Tatts Group, in the belief that its booming lotteries operation would be valued higher if cut free from its bookmaking arm, which has been losing ground to online competitors such as Sportsbet and Ladbrokes.
“The interest from the various parties has let the genie out of the bottle,” Airlie Funds Management fund manager Matt Williams said last Monday.
“So that even if this interest does not upend in a sale, shareholders will want the two businesses separated.”
Mr. Williams, whose fund has a small Tabcorp shareholding, said starting work on a demerger would not prevent the group from exploring offers for the business, while a stand-alone listed wagering business could still attract bids in the future.
“This would most likely be a complex process, so the sooner they start at least the early preparatory work, the better,” Mr Williams said.
“I’m slightly surprised that there hasn’t been more information around these bids but I’m sure that will occur in due course.”
Activist investors Sandon Capital has long called for the Tabcorp-Tatts merger to be unwound, and its managing director Gabriel Radzyminski said on Monday that a wagering demerger was still the best way to unlock value for investors.
“Given all the regulatory hurdles, anything that involves a sale of the asset is likely to take a long time to get done,” Mr Radzyminski said.
“A de-merger could probably be achieved fast, or at least if a process is underway it begins to get a re-rating of the company.”