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BetMakers Jumps Into Tabcorp Bidding Fray with $3.1 Billion Offer

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Australian betting technology company BetMakers is inserting itself into the field of contenders for Tabcorp’s media and sports wagering units with a $3.1 billion bid.

BetMakers Tabcorp
BetMakers adviser Matthew Tripp. That company is making a run Tabcorp’s media and sports betting assets. (Image: The Sentiment)

The proposal revealed late Thursday is equivalent to $4 billion in local currency terms and is a mix of cash and equity. Backed by renowned Australian bookmaker Matthew Tripp, BetMakers is offering A$1 billion and A$3 billion in stock for the Tabcorp businesses. Should the target accept that offer, its investors would own 65 percent of the combined company.

BetMakers joins private equity firm Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO) and UK-based bookmaker Entain Plc (OTC:GMVHY) in bidding for the Tabcorp assets. On price, the Australian company’s offer is similar to that of Apollo’s, but the investment firm’s pitch contains a proposal for Tabcorp’s gaming services unit, which isn’t part of the strategic review the operator is currently engaging in.

Take that division out of the equation and Apollo is essentially offering $2.7 billion for Tabcorp’s media and sports wagering enterprises, which mirrors the bid set forth by Entain.

BetMakers Pitch Alluring, But Faces Issues

BetMakers appears to be banking on its offer, at least for now, being higher than those set forth by competing bidders and selling Tabcorp investors on potential growth, including perhaps in the US.

BetMakers CEO Todd Buckingham says his company is positioned to capture global opportunities, including in the US, which is the fastest-growing sports wagering market in the world. The involvement of the aforementioned Tripp as an adviser to BetMakers could also be compelling to Tabcorp investors because he previously turned Sportsbet and BetEasy into viable rivals to Tabcorp.

I am excited by the potential opportunity to reinvigorate the Tabcorp Wagering and Media business,” said Tripp in a statement.

However, there’s speculation that BetMakers’ offer isn’t going to be enough to get the job done because Tabcorp investors are seeking monetization of the lagging media and sports betting divisions. Said differently, shareholders want those businesses jettisoned and the all cash offers from Apollo and Entain accomplish that objective.

What’s Next

Last week, Tabcorp said its board of directors meets on June 20, indicating any news on the strategic review initiated in March and the bidding process is unlikely before that date.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that another suitor enters the fray between now and then. In March, reports emerged that Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corp. (NASDAQ:FOXA) could make a run at the Tabcorp assets.

Assuming another bidder doesn’t enter the competition and current offers aren’t adjusted to the upside, Entain may be in the pole position as things stand today. The Ladbrokes owner is offering the cash Tabcorp investors want and it’s already operating in Australia, meaning it would likely clear local regulatory hurdles more easily than Apollo.

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