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Aussie Gambling Firm Tabcorp Rebuffs Entain Acquisition Bid

Entain’s tilt for the wagering and media business of Tabcorp was struck a blow Monday as the Australian gambling giant said that all the proposals it has received for its unit undervalued it.

The company has also decided to undertake a strategic review to evaluate all options it has to maximize the value of its businesses for the benefit of shareholders.

The options Tabcorp will assess could include the potential sale of its wagering and media business or a demerger that could be implemented through separation of the above arm or the gambling operator’s lotteries and keno business. The review will be overseen by the company’s Board of Directors.

Entain tabled last month a A$3 billion (approx. $2.28 billion) offer for Tabcorp’s betting and media business, saying that its proposal could lead to an “absolutely transformational” takeover.

Commenting on Monday’s announcement, Entain said that it welcomes the strategic review and “the opportunity it presents for investors to weigh up the certainty of its proposal to acquire the Tabcorp wagering and media business against a demerger.”

The UK gambling powerhouse went on that “an acquisition of the business represents the most attractive pathway to value realization for investors.”

Review to Take 12-13 Weeks

Tabcorp Chairman Steven Gregg said that the strategic review is expected to take between 12 and 13 weeks. The company’s Board decided to press a pause on the search for a new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer pending the outcome of the review.

Entain has not been the only company to have expressed interest in Tabcorp’s sports betting and media business. Reports have emerged that Australian bookmaker Matthew Tripp, an unnamed private equity firm, and the Murdoch family’s Fox Corporation were preparing a joint bid for the wagering and entertainment unit of Australia’s largest gambling company.

It is also understood that US private equity firm Apollo Global Management has too expressed interest. The company has been on a gambling deals binge for a while now. Earlier this month, it nabbed the Venetian Resort Las Vegas from Las Vegas Sands in a $6.25 billion deal.

Late last year, it agreed to purchase one of Canada’s largest casino operators, Great Canadian Gaming. It was also in the bidding race for legacy bookmaker William Hill, but lost to Caesars Entertainment, Inc.

Mr. Gregg said Monday that all of the bids they had received “were a bit light” and that he made it clear to all bidders that it would take a really compelling offer to buy the business. In addition, all offers were unsolicited and highly conditional.

The Tabcorp Chairman further noted that none of the above and other unnamed interested parties had come back with a more compelling bid.

Source: Strategic Review of Tabcorp’s Structural and Ownership Options, Tabcorp Newsroom, March 29, 2021

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