British bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes are believed to be circling the wagering arm of Tatts Group, according to sources, as the company remains at the centre of a USD $7.3 Billion power struggle between its Australian rival Tabcorp and a Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Macquarie-backed consortium, the Australian reported…
Bloody hell… Tatts not a bad buy for a bunch of broke lads!
Earlier this year, Tatts and Tabcorp agreed on a scrip deal for Tabcorb to buy the company for what is now valuing the company at $4.10 a share in an offer that is said to generate $130 million in synergies. At the time, the offer was worth $4.34 a share. The deal currently values Tatts at just over $6bn and values the wagering arm at 70c a share.
Last week, the Pacific Consortium offered to pay shareholders between $4.40 and $5 for Tatts. Shareholders would receive a $3.40 a share cash payment for the lotteries arm and would be paid in scrip for the wagering arm, which the consortium expects to equate to $1.60 a share. The Pacific Consortium says its offer is 18 times the company's earnings.
Sources close to Tatts say the two separate offers remained under consideration, but weakening the prospects for the Pacific Consortium was that the company had not yet guaranteed $1.60 a share in scrip for the Tatts wagering arm.
It was only when that occurred that the Tatts board would face a more real dilemma about what deal to back
Some are betting that the situation will play out where the Pacific Consortium does in fact guarantee $1.60 a share for wagering before Tabcorp increases its offer in what has been described as a do or die situation for Tabcorp.
The price of $1.60 a share for the Tatts wagering operations equates to a value of 11 times its earnings, and sceptics have questioned whether the division is really worth such a rich multiple.
A Young Offer That’s Already Over The Hill
William Hill generates £189.9m in annual profit and, in addition to its online sportsbook operations the company offers online gambling games.
London-based Online Sports Betting Site Ladbrokes boasts £5.1m of annual income, and there were unfounded rumours that it was eyeing Tatts Group in the weeks before the Pacific Consortium emerged.
Consolidation is unfolding among global betting companies amid a period in which they are facing disruption from the internet, and both parties are widely thought to be eager to expand their footprint in the Australian market.
The situation is interesting from the perspective of industry disruption
Ladbrokes and William Hill entered the Australian betting market in 2013 and have aggressively brokered a range of sponsorships with sporting clubs.
William Hill is licensed in the Northern Territory and Ladbrokes on Norfolk Island. The pair have been stealing market share from Tatts and Tabcorp while operating in territories that pay less tax than the latter parties based in Queensland and Victoria.
Should one of the British groups secure the wagering arm of Tatts, some question whether they will operate the business out of their current jurisdictions, although there are said to be plans afoot to change the rules for companies operating out of the Northern Territory.
Macquarie had tried to strike a deal to buy Tatts Group mid-year but its plans were thwarted when Brookfield pulled out of the consortium and was replaced only recently by KKR.
Tabcorp is advised by UBS, which recently raided the Tatts share register on its client's behalf, securing a 10 per cent blocking stake in the target, while Tatts is advised by Goldman Sachs.
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November 29th 2016
Ladbrokes Coral is reportedly weighing up a bid for Australia's largest bookie in a deal that would cost the betting giant more than USD 2.5B
The company, which completed its £2.4bn merger only a few weeks ago, has appointed advisers to assess a bid for Tabcorp, the Mail on Sunday reported.
Ladbrokes is not believed to be preparing a statement for the stock market opening on Monday morning, suggesting that any potential bid is in its early stages and not a certainty.
Tabcorp, which runs a network of high-street bookies, electronic games in pubs and clubs, and a handful of pay TV channels, is believed to have been in Ladbrokes' sites for some years, reportedly turning down a bid in 2013, while its chief executive David Attenborough cut his teeth in the industry at Ladbrokes.
Its hand may have been forced by Tabcorp's proposed A$6.4bn (£3.8bn) acquisition of fellow bookie Tatts.
Ladbrokes is reportedly interested only in Tabcorp, and may have to crash the deal in order to scupper it
The merger between the two Australian companies, meant to ward off growing UK competition in the market, is also expected to face scrutiny from competition regulators, which blocked such a deal 10 years ago.
Tabcorp has a market capitalisation of A$3.9bn (£2.3bn). An acquisition at that price would would create a company worth around £5bn, making it one of the world's biggest betting groups and catapulting it into the FTSE 100.
Gaming companies have been forced to consolidate in recent years as regulation and tax measures squeeze their margins
Ladbrokes and Gala Coral completed their merger at the start of this month, and Paddy Power and Betfair also merged at the start of this year.
British groups are also looking down under for growth since the deregulation of gambling licences in 2012. Ladbrokes itself has already bought Australian bookmakers Betstar and Bookmaker.com.au, although a deal for Tabcorp would eclipse both.
The company, which offers sports betting as well as Keno, a lottery-style game and owns the Australian Sky Racing channels, had revenues of A$2.2bn last year and pre-tax profits of A$301m.