$22.4B bid for joint-venture partner

MGM would seek full control of BetMGM if DraftKings takes over Entain, CEO says

Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts CEO, at an educational panel of G2E 2021.
United States
Reading time 1:49 min
During an interview at G2E 2021, Bill Hornbuckle confirmed MGM's intention to secure majority control over its joint venture with Entain, BetMGM, after the former received a proposal by DraftKings for a $22.4 billion takeover. An agreement could also involve BetMGM licensing some of the technology that powers the site from DraftKings.

MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle has hinted at a potential buyout of BetMGM, currently co-owned and operated with Entain, during an interview with Bloomberg at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. He highlighted that there are “a lot of ways” for a potential agreement between MGM, DraftKings and Entain to work. 

Entain confirmed on September 21 that DraftKings had made a proposal for $22.4 billion takeover of the FTSE100 firm. The terms of the collaboration between MGM and Entain stipulates that a potential new owner of the latter would not be able to operate BetMGM without the permission of its stateside partner.

According to Hornbuckle, MGM will pursue a majority takeover of BetMGM in the event that DraftKings successfully purchases Entain, with the goal of accessing the unit’s technology. A statement from MGM on September 22 noted that any transaction “whereby Entain or its affiliates would own a competing business in the US would require MGM’s consent”

DraftKings has not yet commented publicly on whether or not it is angling to gain control of BetMGM. If it did so, it would likely be with the hopes of folding it into its existing iGaming and online sportsbook business.

As reported by Bloomberg, MGM’s CEO remarked that the company has “50% now. I would like more. I would need more”. He also pointed out that there is also the possibility of licensing BetMGM’s technology from DraftKings.

“There’s a lot of ways to structure it”, he explained during his statements at G2E. “The only thing that would be successful for us is if we got control of it and had a technology that we could proceed with”

The MGM chief executive also said that, to date, there have been “casual conversations” with DraftKings. He said the casino operator will be enthusiastic about garnering a large percentage of BetMGM. “If we’re able to acquire and get a piece, a larger piece, and take over BetMGM, it’s something we’d also be excited to do. It’s up to them,” said Hornbuckle.

MGM had previously pursued its own attempted takeover of Entain in January of this year at a purchase price of $11 billion, representing a 22% premium on the Ladbrokes and Coral operator’s share price. The offer was rejected.

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