Entain in Talks to Buy Betting Business of Australia’s Tabcorp

Entain Plc made a non-binding offer for the wagering and media division of Australia’s largest gambling company, Tabcorp Holdings Ltd.

Discussions about a combination with Entain’s existing Australian business are at an early stage, the London-listed owner of the Ladbrokes betting chain said in a filing Tuesday. The offer could face competition as Tabcorp said the business has received “a number of unsolicited approaches and proposals” in recent weeks.

Any deal would give Entain extra scale in the region. Sports betting has become a busy area for mergers globally as the industry transitions online and U.S. states legalize wagers. Last month, Entain rejected an $11 billion takeover approach from U.S. casino operator MGM Resorts International.

Wagering & Media is Tabcorp’s biggest division after the Lotteries & Keno business. In the year to June 2020, Wagering & Media generated 40% of its A$5.22 billion ($3.98 billion) in revenue, company filings show.

“Given the consolidated nature of the Australian market, there are limited such opportunities left to look at,” said Goodbody analyst David Brohan in a note to clients. “Assuming any deal is completed at the right price we can see positives from a transaction.”

Entain’s statement confirmed an earlier media report by the Australian Financial Review. The Australian newspaper reported earlier on Tuesday that Tabcorp had received a breakup proposal in the past two weeks.

Tabcorp shares jumped 9% in Sydney trading on Tuesday, valuing the company at A$9.9 billion.

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