MGM Ends Pursuit for UK Online Gambling Businesses

MGM resorts logo
A bid by US casino giant MGM Resorts to takeover UK bookmaker Ladbrokes and Coral has ended.

Yahoo reports that MGM said it will not raise the $11 billion offer of two weeks ago for Entain’s entities, which were rebuffed as “significantly” undervaluing the company.

Following Entain’s rejection, shares in the UK-listed company tumbled.

After MGM’s announcement that they would be walking away, Entain shares fell another 20 per cent.

FTSE 100-listed Entain, which renamed itself from GVC Holdings in December, describes itself as “one of the world’s largest sports betting and gaming groups operating in the online and retail sector.”

In addition to Ladbrokes, it also owns Bwin, Partypoker, Coral, Eurobet, Gala and Foxy Bingo.

The failed bid was the latest attempt by a casino operator to move into the online gambling business.

MGM Resorts runs the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas and was hoping to emulate the feats of its rival, Caesars Entertainment, which agreed to buy William Hill for $3.7 billion in September 2020.

Media Mogul Invests in MGM Resorts

dollar bill symbol in multiple colours
Photo by Chronis Yan

Media mogul has purchased a near $1 billion stake in MGM Resorts.

CNN Business reported in August that the stake was purchased by Interactivecorp (IAC), a conglomerate run by media mogul Barry Diller.

The amount purchased amounts to about a 12 per cent interest in the Las Vegas-based global casino and hotel giant.

Shares of MGM Resorts surged nearly 15 per cent on the back of the news, while IAC’s stock was down about two per cent.

IAC has been actively shaking up its portfolio in recent months.

The company completed its sale of Match shares last month after announcing plans to do so in December.

It also agreed in December to buy Care.com, a company that helps people find caregivers and housekeepers, for $500 million.

IAC also owns digital content brand DotDash and video tools firm Vimeo.

But the MGM Resorts investment could be Diller’s boldest move yet.

He said in a press release the new IAC has a healthy balance sheet and “its opportunistic zeal intact.”

“We are energised and excited to make this investment in MGM,” he said, adding that IAC is particularly interested in “an area that currently comprises a tiny portion of its revenue – online gaming.

IAC chief executive officer Joey Levin added: “MGM Resorts presents a unique opportunity for IAC to own a meaningful piece of a pre eminent brand in a large category with immense potential,” noting IAC plans to be a “minority investor and long-term strategic partner.”

MGM Resorts chairman Paul Salem noted that IAC can help MGM continue to grow its digital gaming and sports betting businesses.

Big casino companies like MGM and rivals Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands have struggled this year as the coronavirus pandemic led to a slowdown in travel to Las Vegas and Asian gaming mecca Macau.

Indiana Casino Sold for $250m

Casino operator Caesars Entertainment has reached an agreement to see an Indiana casino for $250 million.

The Sacramento Bee reported in December that Caesars has agreed to sell Caesars Southern Indiana to the North Carolina-based Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Caesars announced the sale agreement last Thursday, ahead of the company’s December 31 deadline to divest from the casino operation, located in the Harrison County town of Elizabeth, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.

The agreement is an expansion of an existing partnership between the company and the EBCI.

At the closing of the deal, EBCI will enter into a new lease with VICI Properties, with annual payments of $32.5 million.

The 20-year-old casino retired its three-floor riverboat in late 2019 and moved into a new, $85 million land-based building that offers 100,000 square feet of gambling space, including slot machines, table games and poker, with room for dining and entertainment.

William Brown

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