Apollo Makes $3.1 Billion Offer for Tabcorp Assets, Topping Entain Bid

Posted on: May 6, 2021, 08:28h. 

Last updated on: June 23, 2021, 02:13h.

Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO) is making another run at Tabcorp’s betting and media businesses. It is offering nearly $3.1 billion for the Australian company’s sought-after assets, while topping a recently revised bid of $2.7 billion from Entain Plc (OTC:GMVHY).

Apollo Tabcorp
Ladbrokes signs at an Australian horse race. Owner Entain is getting competition from Apollo in a bid for Tabcorp assets. (Image: Racing Post)

There are conditions with the Apollo pitch, which is valued at $4 billion in Australian dollars, or $3.09 billion based on current exchange rates.

At that price, the private equity firm wants Tabcorp to include its gaming services unit along with the media and sports-wagering businesses. If the Aussie bookmaker doesn’t want to part with the gaming services enterprise, Apollo, at least for now, is simply matching Entain’s offer for the media and sports betting arms.

The Tabcorp board has not yet formed a view on the merits of the revised proposal, and will assess it in the context of the previously announced strategic review,” the company said in a statement released soon after the close of Australian markets.

In late March, after rebuffing Entain’s initial overture, Tabcorp promised a “strategic review” aimed at maximizing value for its businesses and investors. At that time, the operator said the review could result in a sale or spin-off of the betting and media divisions, as well as a separation of its keno and lottery unit.

The gaming services operation isn’t part of the new strategic review. But Tabcorp put the division under scrutiny last year due to sluggish performance. The gaming service is the largest of its kind in Australia.

Suitors Lining Up for Tabcorp Units

There’s no shortage of interest for Tabcorp’s betting and media arms. The company previously confirmed bids from multiple suitors. In addition to Apollo and Entain, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corp. (NASDAQ:FOXA) is reportedly mulling a bid.

Investors are pressing Tabcorp to take action on the sportsbook unit, because it’s losing share in its home market to rivals, including Entain’s Ladbrokes. If the British company is successful in winning the assets from its Aussie rival, the transaction would create a behemoth in Australia’s horse racing and sports betting market, as the combined would have almost 48 percent share.

To date, Entain isn’t expressing interest in the gaming services operation that Apollo wants, leading to speculation that the private equity firm might have an inside track in the bidding process because of its willingness to take a languishing business off Tabcorp’s hands.

It’s not yet clear if Fox would make a similar move, or what price the media conglomerate is willing to offer for the Tabcorp divisions.

“As stated, the objective of the strategic review is to assess and evaluate all structural and ownership options to maximize the value of Tabcorp’s businesses for the benefit of shareholders,” according to the operator’s statement.

Apollo Making Sports Betting Waves

Apollo is looking to flex its muscles in the global sports betting arena in a big way. In addition to its run at Tabcorp’s units, the private equity company is viewed as a primary suitor for William Hill’s European business. Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) will soon put that operation on the auction block.

Earlier this week, Apollo paid $5 billion to acquire media assets from Verizon (NYSE:VZ). That purchase includes Yahoo!, meaning the buyer is getting its hands on Yahoo! Sports. That online entity partner with BetMGM, which is half-owned by Entain. In fact, sports betting is seen as one of the centerpieces of the acquisition, according to some market observers.