Ladbrokes owner Entain increases bid for rival Enlabs to $ 440 million

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Entain ENT shares, + 2.30%, rose more than 2% on Monday, after the UK gambling company raised its bid for rival Swedish sports betting company Enlabs. The FTSE 100 company said it had increased its cash offering from SEK 40 per share to SEK 53 per share, giving Enlabs, which operates brands such as Optibet and NinjaCasino, a valuation of SEK 3.7 billion ($ 440 million).

In a statement to the stock market, Entain GMVHY, + 2.19% said that about 51% of shareholders had already accepted the offer, which they said was final. Shares of Entain, which are up more than 27% so far this year, were up 2.48% in London morning trading on Monday. Entain GMVHF, + 0.34%, which changed its name to GVC Holdings in January, is one of the world’s largest sports betting and gaming groups operating in the retail and online sector, and owns brands such as Ladbrokes, Coral, Bwin and Partypoker. Read: Entain shares plummet as MGM says it will not go ahead with the offering. He himself became the target of a total offer of $ 11 billion from MGM Resorts MGM, + 0.98% in January, as the US casino giant, which runs the Bellagio. casino in Las Vegas, tried to enter the online gambling business. Two weeks later, MGM abandoned its attempt to buy Entain after the target’s board rejected its offer. An increase in online gambling by stay-at-home customers during the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered many deals in the bookmaker industry. Analysts at JPMorgan Cazenove said in a research note on February 26 that online gaming benefited from the tailwinds of the pandemic in 2020 that will continue into the early part of this year. Read: Esports Entertainment shares soar after Andrew Left’s Citron says GameStop should buy the online gambling company. comps [comparables], US investment will continue to limit returns, as long as there is a regulatory headwind in Germany and regulatory uncertainty ”in the UK. “Said the analysts. Dublin-based Flutter FLTR + 4.20%, which owns the PaddyPower and SkyBet brands, spent $ 4.2 billion last year to increase its stake in US fantasy sports company FanDuel. Read: Flutter Entertainment reaches $ 4.2 billion deal to control majority of FanDuel Entain GVC, + 1.38% made an initial offering of SEK40 per share for Enlabs on Jan 20. But it was forced to increase its offer, after Alta Fox Capital Management and others Enlabs shareholders representing more than 10% of outstanding shares said they would reject it. At the time, Alta Fox, which is Entain’s largest shareholder with 3.7% of the company’s shares, said that Entain’s initial offering of SEK 40 per share to Enlabs “substantially undervalued” the Swedish company and that the fair minimum price that would compensate shareholders is 55 SEK Share. “Entain can provide the scale and platform necessary to further support Enlabs’ long-term growth, and we firmly believe that Entain will be the best home for Enlabs, its employees and customers,” Chief Executive Officer Rob Wood said in a statement. Commenting ahead of Entain’s annual results on March 4, Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “During the pandemic there has been an increase in online gambling activity and it is likely that new closures continue that trend. . Going forward, easing restrictions could affect revenue as customers turn to other forms of entertainment, but sporting events returning to stadiums should help keep growth on track. ” Entain said last month that it had made an offer to buy the betting and media business of Australian bookmaker Tabcorp Holdings as it seeks to expand in the country. He said the discussions were at an early stage.