MGM flags interest in buying Ladbrokes

By Noah Taylor Updated
MGM China committed to Macau

MGM Resorts International is seeking to buy British gaming company Entain, owned of popular gaming brand Ladbrokes.

Yahoo Finance reports that the latest move from MGM would double down on its online gambling business.

The Las Vegas-based company recently offered roughly $10 billion all cash for Ladbrokes, with the overture rebuffed.

The exact details and value of the new bid is not known, but is above the $17.55 a share MGM had previously offered late last year.

Entertain has more than 3000 betting shops under the Ladbrokes and Coral brands.

It rivals William Hill and Flutter Entertainment in Britain.

Media mogul invests in MGM Resorts

A media mogul has purchased a near $1 billion stake in MGM Resorts.

CNN Business reported in August that the stake was purchased by Interactivecorp (IAC), a conglomerate run by media mogul Barry Diller.

The amount purchased amounts to about a 12 per cent interest in the Las Vegas-based global casino and hotel giant.

Shares of MGM Resorts surged nearly 15 per cent on the back of the news, while IAC’s stock was down about two per cent.

IAC has been actively shaking up its portfolio in recent months.

The company completed its sale of Match shares last month after announcing plans to do so in December.

It also agreed in December to buy, a company that helps people find caregivers and housekeepers, for $500 million.

IAC also owns digital content brand DotDash and video tools firm Vimeo.

But the MGM Resorts investment could be Diller’s boldest move yet.

He said in a press release the new IAC has a healthy balance sheet and “its opportunistic zeal intact.”

“We are energised and excited to make this investment in MGM,” he said, adding that IAC is particularly interested in “an area that currently comprises a tiny portion of its revenue – online gaming. 

IAC chief executive officer Joey Levin added: “MGM Resorts presents a unique opportunity for IAC to own a meaningful piece of a pre eminent brand in a large category with immense potential,” noting IAC plans to be a “minority investor and long-term strategic partner.”

MGM Resorts chairman Paul Salem noted that IAC can help MGM continue to grow its digital gaming and sports betting businesses.

Big casino companies like MGM and rivals Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands have struggled this year as the coronavirus pandemic led to a slowdown in travel to Las Vegas and Asian gaming mecca Macau.

William Hill to close 119 UK betting shops

Popular bookmaker William Hill said it is shutting 119 betting shops in the UK.

Yahoo News reported in June that the company, which has 1,500 UK outlets said it did not expect customers to return in the numbers seen before the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said about 300 staff were impacted and most had been redeployed elsewhere.

William Hill said it is repaying 24.5 million pounds of UK furlough funds as trade has recovered well post-lockdown.

Its comments come as it reported pre-tax profits of 141 million pounds in the first six months of 2020, compared with a loss of 63 million pounds last year.

Its revenues fell by a third though, to 554 million pounds, reflecting the impact of lockdown and so many sporting events cancelled.

William Hill employs 7,000 people in the UK and a further 5,000 people in 9 other countries.

In a statement, the bookmaker said: “We anticipate that longer term retail footfall will not return to pre-COVID levels and 119 UK shops will remain closed following early lease breaks, with the majority of colleagues redeployed within the estate.”

Fewer than 20 people will not be redeployed.

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