If someone offered you £8.1 billion for your business would you sell it? Entain (the new brand name of GVC) wouldn’t.
MGM Resorts yesterday put the huge offer on the table, but were knocked back by the owners of brands such as Ladbrokes, Coral, and Betdaq.
Entain believe the offer, representing £13.83 per share, does not fairly represent the company’s true value, despite the fact that shares plunged to lows of 300 pence in March last year.
This comes hot on the heels of William Hills agreed a takeover deal with Caesars entertainment worth £2.9 billion.
So why are British gambling companies suddenly so in demand with our American cousins across the water?
Why are American Firms Buying British Gambling Companies?
Up until 2018, online sports betting was illegal across most of America. But when federal law was changed many states decided to legalise sports betting, opening up a huge and untapped market for gambling companies.
The UK’s online sports betting industry is thriving and has been for years, so they are perfectly placed to take advantage of this, and there has been something of a scramble amongst British companies to lay foundations in the states and get in there early.
But American companies have very deep pockets, and would understandably rather the profits from sports betting went to them. The easiest way for them to do this is to buy in the experience, tech, and infrastructure by way of acquisitions.
What’s more, British public companies are looking cheap thanks to Brexit and the pandemic lowering share prices, many of which are yet to recover to pre-COVID levels.
The Price isn’t Right
In essence then, for big US companies the British gambling brands are:
However, establishing the true value of a company in these times of high market volatility is difficult.
MGM have valued Entain themselves and made an offer that they think represents a good deal for them and for the shareholders, but Entain make the point that their current share price is not an accurate representation of their real value especially when considering growth potential.
Entain already have a joint venture with MGM in the US called BetMGM, and they estimated an 18% market share in the US in November. The American betting market is predicted to be worth $20 to $30 billion over the next few years, and 18% of that is an awful lot.
In light of this, MGM will have to do a lot better than £8.1 billion to get their mitts on Entain before the American market really takes off, and they have until Feb 1st to make a final official bid.