Entain expresses an interest in buying Tabcorp wagering arm

Entain, the leading global bookmaking company formerly known as GVC Holdings, has revealed it is in early talks to buy the wagering arm of Australian giant Tabcorp.

It was only earlier in 2021 that Entain took on its new name, and now big things could be on the way Down Under.

Entain is the owner of the famous Ladbrokes and Coral brands in the United Kingdom, as well as the Australian brands Ladbrokes.com.au, Bookmaker.com.au, Betstar Australia and Neds.

Having entered the prosperous Australian betting industry with the purchase of the already-existing Bookmaker.com.au and Betstar.com.au in 2013, Entain have since made major inroads with the launch of the Ladbrokes Australia and Neds.

Both brands have been successful in attracting customers via innovative betting products as the traditional Australian bettors move from shop-based punting at TAB units owned by Tabcorp to online gambling.

Entain could become the biggest bookmaker in Australia if successful with the purchase of the wagering arm of Tabcorp. TAB is Australia’s most famous betting brand via shops and the TAB.com.au online betting site and app which cover profitable sectors of betting markets and racing tips.

Following speculation, Entain revealed the talks over the purchase in a statement. It said: “Whilst discussions are at an early stage, any transaction would be in line with Entain’s current M&A strategy of expanding across regulated international markets.

“As such, this would present an opportunity to acquire an attractive business which, if combined with Entain’s existing Australian business, would create a leading, integrated multi-channel and multi-brand wagering company.”

Tabcorp is understood to be looking to split up the successful lotteries business and wagering business that they had previously merged. That deal was ratified as Tabcorp and Tattersalls joined forces.

Tabcorp confirmed it has “received a number of unsolicited approaches and proposals” regarding its wagering and media business, which also includes Sky Racing, the broadcaster of all Australian horse racing, harness racing and greyhound racing.

“Tabcorp confirms that it has received a number of unsolicited approaches and proposals in relation to a potential transaction involving Tabcorp’s wagering and media business,” a statement from the company said.

“The proposals were expressed to be confidential, indicative, non-binding and subject to numerous conditions including due diligence, financing and various regulatory approvals. There is no certainty that any transaction will occur.”

TAB is understood to hold around 40 per cent of the Australian gambling section, largely thanks to the offline betting businesses in shops, pubs and on track.

But they have lost some of that market share to corporate bookmakers who have been quicker and smarter to take advantage of the booming online gambling industry in Australia. The likes of Ladbrokes and Neds have made a much bigger impact.

According to the Australian Financial Review, the wagering arm of Tabcorp could be worth around $2.8 billion AUD. That includes the company’s fixed odds tote betting used on tracks and fixed odds horse racing betting via TAB.com.au and in shops.

Sportsbet, which is owned by Flutter Entertainment, is also understood to be interested in purchasing the Tabcorp assets.

Already Australia’s leading bookmaker, Sportsbet’s share of the sector increased last year when BetEasy was merged into the brand following the merger between Paddy Power Betfair and The Stars Group to form Flutter Entertainment.

Kindred are present in the Australian gambling market in the form of Unibet Australia, as are bet365 via bet365.com.au. Betfair, which is not wholly owned by Flutter in Australia, are the leading betting exchange Down Under.

The remainder of the sector is made up of locally-owned bookmakers including Palmerbet, TopSport, SportsBetting and PlayUp.

William Hill, Sportingbet and Betfred have previously made moves into Australia but have since withdrawn from the market.


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