MGM mulls new bid for gambling giant: Casino giant eyeing up Entain

MGM mulls new bid for gambling giant: Casino group eyeing up Entain, owner of Ladbrokes, Coral and Gala Bingo, later this year, according to City sources

No deal: Entain boss Jette Nygaard-Andersen rejected a previous offer

Casino giant MGM Resorts is mulling another takeover bid for FTSE-100 gambling group Entain, owner of Ladbrokes, Coral and Gala Bingo, later this year, according to City sources. 

The US company previously made a swoop in January 2021. However Entain, led by Danish businesswoman Jette Nygaard-Andersen, rebuffed the £8.1billion approach on the grounds the price was too low. 

Analysts believe the bid is likely to be revived once the UK Gambling Commission has published its long-delayed white paper. 

This has been a stumbling block for bidders, who are keen to know what it contains because new rules could have a big impact on the valuations of UK gambling businesses. Draconian measures on online or problem gambling, for instance, could send share prices tumbling. 

The report could be released as soon as March. 

A tie-up between the two firms is a ‘fairly obvious combination’, analysts at Deutsche Bank said in a note last week. MGM’s previous offer was split between cash and shares. Deutsche added that a new bid with additional cash would probably ‘be backed by shareholders’. 

Banking news site CTFN described the deal as ‘inevitable’, with sources suggesting that MGM was ‘constantly weighing up a bid’ for Entain, formerly called GVC. Entain is now worth £8.9billion – £800million more than MGM’s proposal in 2021.

The British company has worked with MGM on a joint venture since 2018 called BetMGM, which operates online sports betting, casino and poker games in a number of US states. BetMGM will put out a trading update on Thursday. 

In its last financial year, the joint group made more than £1billion in revenue. 

The US has been a lucrative market for British companies because online gambling was illegal in America until a few years ago.

It has still only been legalised in a few states, including New Jersey and Michigan. 

A merger with Entain, whose technology and experience are highly regarded, would make it much easier for MGM to benefit when more states legalise online gambling. 

A separate attempt to take over Entain in 2021 by American sports betting company Draft­Kings also fell apart. 

New York-listed MGM is valued at £12billion. It was set up in 1986 and owns some of the biggest resorts in Las Vegas, including the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Four Seasons and New York-New York. 

Its Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas, famous for its dancing water fountains, has a presidential suite available for more than £4,000 a night.