All bets are off as DraftKings yanks $25.5B bid for UK rival

All bets are off as DraftKings yanks $25.5B bid for UK rival

US gambling giant DraftKings on Tuesday pulled out of a $22.5 billion takeover bid for British rival Entain, saying it was confident of going it alone in North America.

“After several discussions with Entain leadership, DraftKings has decided that it will not make a firm offer for Entain at this time,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said in a statement.

He said that DraftKings was “highly confident in our ability to maintain a leadership position and achieve our long-term growth plans in the rapidly growing North America market”.

Entain owns betting-shop chains Ladbrokes and Coral in Britain, as well as various gambling websites focused on football and horse racing.

DraftKings specialises in fantasy leagues betting, notably across the major US sports of American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey.

Entain’s board had been considering the takeover bid filed in September, which was worth £16.5 billion ($22.5 billion, 19.2 billion euros).

It was an improved offer from DraftKings priced at £28 per share, after Entain had rebuffed a previous bid worth £25 per share.

In January, the UK firm also snubbed a bid from US casino giant MGM worth £8.0 billion, as the sector looks to consolidate at a time of surging revenues from online betting on both sides of the Atlantic.

Entain took note of the decision by DraftKings to walk away.

“The board strongly believes in the future prospects of Entain, underpinned by its leading market positions, world-class management team and industry-leading proprietary technology,” its directors said.

However, Entain’s share price slumped 5.85 percent on the news to 2,012.00 pence in London.

The takeover bid in September came after gambling group 888 earlier in the month agreed to buy the non-US operations of rival William Hill in a deal aimed at creating a leading online betting group.

US group Caesars Entertainment agreed to the sale in a deal worth £2.2 billion.

Caesars had bought all of William Hill, which has more than 1,400 betting shops in the UK, for around £3.0 billion last year but was interested in holding onto only the US part of the business.

US gambling is taking off after the Supreme Court in 2018 lifted a ban on sports betting in the United States.

The ban had covered almost the entire country for 25 years, with the notable exception of Nevada.

Agence France-Presse


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