Australian sportsbetting firm Tabcorp Holdings Limited has reportedly rejected an around $2.3 billion offer that was to have seen its wagering and media division become a part of prominent land-based and online sportsbook operator Entain.
According to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, the Melbourne-headquartered firm received the bid from Entain early last month and disclosed that it now intends to run a three-month strategic review that could well see the branch hived off from its lucrative lotteries business following a meticulous appraisal of its worth.
The newspaper reported that the rebuff was publicized by the Chairman for Tabcorp Holdings Limited, Steven Gregg, as rival bidders including the likes of American media conglomerate Fox Corporation and private equity behemoth Apollo Global Management Incorporated are known to be considering similar offers. The boss purportedly declared that he is ‘very happy’ for suitors to express an interest in his company’s media and wagering division but would want something closer to $2.7 billion before approving an outright sale.
London-listed Entain is also the firm behind the United Kingdom’s Ladbokes and Coral-branded estate of land-based bookmakers and reportedly made the non-binding offer in an attempt to give it extra scale across the Asia-Pacific region. However, Gregg purportedly divulged that any such arrangement would face scrutiny from Australia’s collection of state-based licensing bodies and could well be snubbed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Gregg reportedly declared…
“Everything is overcomable; it’s just a matter of time and money and disruption. If we go down a path of selling the company, which would take twelve months to do, you want to be very clear that you’re going to sell the company at the price you agreed.”
The Bloomberg news service earlier reported that Tabcorp Holdings Limited merged with local rival Tatts Group Limited in 2017 and currently holds a local market share of around 57% courtesy of its estate of over 4,400 land-based sportsbooks spread across Australia. This source explained that media and wagering is the Sydney-listed company’s second most lucrative branch after generating 40% of its revenues for the year to the end of June at approximately $3.98 billion.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Entain, which was previously known as GVC Holdings until undergoing a name-change late last year, could now well return with a second bid after describing Tabcorp Holdings Limited’s wagering and media enterprise as the ‘clear and obvious choice’ to serve as its ‘strong and long-term partner for Australian racing’.
Gregg reportedly told the newspaper that a number of other entities had expressed an interest in buying his company’s media and wagering division but that this pool was ‘not vast’. He purportedly furthermore confirmed that he had spoken with antipodean bookmaking pioneer Matthew Tripp regarding the Entain offer and whether he would be prepared to front a future demerger.