British land-based and online sportsbook operator Entain has reportedly lodged an improved bid worth slightly in excess of $2.7 billion for the wagering and media business of Australian bookmaker Tabcorp Holdings Limited.
According to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, the all-cash move comes after the Melbourne-headquartered target rejected an initial $2.3 billion approach late last month that was to have given Entain immediate control over its estate of roughly 4,400 land-based sportsbooks spread across the length and breadth of Australia.
The newspaper reported that this unsuccessful attempt subsequently prompted Tabcorp Holdings Limited to launch a three-month strategic review into its entire business that could well see the unloved wagering and media division hived off from its lucrative lottery operation following a meticulous appraisal of its worth. American media conglomerate Fox Corporation and private equity behemoth Apollo Global Management Incorporated are purportedly known to be considering similar offers with any subsequent sale due to be subjected to scrutiny from Australia’s collection of state-based licensing bodies and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Previously known as GVC Holdings until undergoing a name-change late last year, London-listed Entain is the firm behind the United Kingdom’s Ladbokes and Coral-branded estate of land-based bookmakers and it is reportedly hoping that the Tabcorp Holdings Limited acquisition will give it extra scale across the Asia-Pacific region. The company purportedly declared that its latest proposal is superior to ‘other alternatives’ and is destined to provide the target’s shareholders with ‘compelling value and certainty.’
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Tabcorp Holdings Limited merged with local rival Tatts Group Limited in 2017 and currently holds about a 37% share of the Australian online and retail sportsbetting market. In promoting its newest offer and Entain purportedly moreover proclaimed that it is a ‘strong strategic fit’ to take over the running of the target’s state-licensed totalizator operations so as to ‘strengthen the funding outcomes for Australia’s racing industry.’
Anton Tagliaferro serves as the Investment Director for Australian asset management specialist Investors Mutual Limited and he reportedly explained that his firm holds around a 3% stake in Tabcorp Holdings Limited. He purportedly asserted that the revised bid shows that there is still interest in the wagering and media business but that he does not expect the Sydney-listed firm to rush any possible acceptance decision.
Tagliaferro reportedly told the newspaper…
“I think they’ll wait a little bit and see if there are any other interested parties. Tabcorp Holdings Limited is not going to remain in its current form as we go forward, that’s pretty clear, and it’s a matter of how do you maximize value for shareholders whether they demerger the business and float it or demerge it and sell it.”