ALEX BRUMMER: online bets defy all predictions for Entain
Among the ongoing complaints about UK plc is the fact that as a nation we have failed to create champions of technology. This is not strictly true.
When we create companies like Arm Holdings and Worldpay, they quickly disappear into foreign hands, which we often never hear about again.
The latest target is the British gaming group Entain, which was among the world’s pioneers in electronic sports betting.
Addictive: Entain’s ruthless exploitation of online games through incessant advertising at televised and streamed sporting events has helped it acquire 160 million users on its platform
Entain’s rise to fame and fortune was built on a series of daring takeovers, which saw his predecessor company GVC Holdings – largely the creation of former CEO Kenny Alexander – take control from Ladbrokes Coral, Bwin and Sportingbet, among others.
Its ruthless exploitation of online games through relentless advertising at televised and streamed sporting events has helped it acquire 160 million users on its platforms, making up to 2 million bets per day.
All of us who know die hard gamers know how damaging this can be to addicts, families and communities. This is a technological takeover that is difficult to oppose.
Entain’s latest offer, which has so far kept its future casino operator partner MGM at bay, comes at an exorbitant price of £ 16.4bn from Draftkings.
Over the past five years, Entain’s value has fallen from just £ 2.2bn to £ 14bn, after rejecting an £ 8bn offer from MGM along the way.
The US gaming industry looks to UK gamblers for their technology and marketing expertise, as the US, after many decades of testing, has finally opened up to sports betting, which was previously limited to casinos.
The legacy of Shoeless Joe Jackson, the Chicago White Sox baseball legend, who conspired with crooks to fix the 1919 World Series of baseball, continues 100 years later.
One wonders what American sports fanatics and a country prone to organized crime syndicates will end up doing with online gambling.
As for the suitor, Draftkings, this is just another debt-fueled US entity struggling to turn a profit, seeing an opportunity to use cheap loans and a favorable tax regime to make a profit. execution.
There are even suggestions that Draft-kings could seek to arbitrate Entain by selling it to MGM, which already owns a 50/50 stake in a sports betting joint venture.
Executives, eagerly awaiting tantalizing £ 110million payouts, will find it hard to resist the approach, as will shareholders of large battalions who have kept their faith despite the ethical cloud.
There is a sadness that Ladbrokes and the sport of kings, where it all began, will be buried under the social quagmire of online betting.
But this horse ran away a long time ago.
The easiest way for Glaxosmithkline to save itself from the hands of activists would be to get rid of Managing Director Emma Walmsley, one of the few female Patrons of the FTSE 100.
Activists Elliott, now followed by Bluebell, must recognize that a pharmaceutical giant’s turnaround is not a short-term exercise given the time it takes – despite Covid vaccines – to deliver new compounds and navigate the world. the regulatory labyrinth.
Swapping Walmsley for, say, research chief Hal Barron would give the scientist less time to bring promising drugs to market.
Walmsley’s plan has always been to create mainstream healthcare, keep a stake, and use the income from it to fund R&D and new products.
Selling consumer health products to satisfy a few dissidents should not be offered.
One can’t help but think, however, that if a scathing offer came from a trade or private equity buyer, as some believe, it would be difficult for the board of directors headed by loyal chairman Jonathan Symonds. to resist.
Seeds of doubt have been sown.
Netflix’s decision to acquire Roald Dahl’s works for later exploitation on the big screen and beyond may seem commercially quite reasonable.
The author’s family will raise several hundred million dollars for the business.
Dahl’s writings, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The Witches, have fascinated generations of children.
But one wonders what the Hollywood brigade of Netflix ownership will think about the rights of an author known for his racist and virulent anti-Semitic views?
I was just asking.
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on it, we can earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.