When we predicted more M&A in 2021 at Gambling Insider, we weren't expecting that prediction to come true within the first week of January – and in quite this fashion.
But with MGM Resorts International's offer to acquire Entain (formerly GVC Holdings), reported to be worth $11bn, we have our first potential mega-deal of the year.
Entain has yet to accept this offer, of course, so we have a long way to go before anything is finalised. But you could argue the wheels are already somewhat in motion, given the fact MGM Resorts and Entain have an existing joint venture in BetMGM (also known as Roar Digital).
Entain's recent rebranding from GVC is another interesting talking point: was this rebranding made with a future merger in mind?
Naturally, that's just one of many questions raised by an offer of this size. All we know for certain at the moment is that Entain's share price has risen 26% on the morning of the news, to Entain's highest value in five years.
In a 2019 interview with Gambling Insider, then GVC CEO Kenny Alexander aimed to get the company's share value up to £20 ($27.38) within three years. The current price of £14.34 is the closest that goal has come to being accomplished – and the overall aim now certainly looks more realistic.
Reflecting on the news, Lee Richardson, CEO, Gaming Economics spoke exclusively to Gambling Insider and suggested the news leaves the advantage firmly with Entain.
He said: "As Roar Digital (the existing JV between MGM Resorts and Entain) already aspires to a 15%-20% share of the US online sports betting market, it’s not immediately clear what MGM Resorts essentially want here, in strategic terms, other than the other 50% of that growing business. Geographical expansion? De-risking their retail casino business model?
"What’s clearer is what MGM Resorts would be acquiring, and that’s a highly respected retail and non-retail operator, with excellent brand recognition in Europe and Australia, plus a growing US profile. Advantage Entain, I think."