IAC Chairman Barry Diller, CEO Joey Levin Join MGM Board of Directors
Posted on: August 20, 2020, 11:15h.
Last updated on: August 20, 2020, 02:04h.
IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IAC) Chairman Barry Diller and CEO Joey Levin are taking two seats on the MGM board of directors, expanding that lineup from 12 to 14. The appointment stems from a $1 billion investment in MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) announced on Aug. 10.
When the investment, which equals 12 percent of the casino giant, was revealed earlier this month, MGM Chairman Paul Salem said invitations to join the operator’s board would be extended to IAC, though a specific number of seats wasn’t mentioned at the time.
IAC — which controls such internet properties as Ask.com and Care.com, and recently spun out dating site Match.com — surprised the gaming industry and Wall Street alike in revealing the MGM stake, because Diller’s company typically doesn’t make minority investments in established companies. Rather, IAC’s forte is investing in firms with exposure to growing internet markets, a box MGM checks.
IAC recently announced a significant investment in MGM Resorts, citing the exciting growth potential of online gaming and sports betting, calling it a “…unique opportunity … to own a meaningful piece of a preeminent brand in a large category with immense potential to move online,” according to a statement issued by the companies.
In addition to his duties as IAC chairman and the MGM board seat, Diller, who led television shopping network QVC in the early 1990s, is a member of Coca-Cola’s board of directors.
Generating Some Buzz
Broadly speaking, the investment community is applauding the IAC/MGM relationship, noting that IAC’s experience with companies in early stage internet markets could be a boon for the gaming operator as it ramps up its BetMGM operation.
One analyst said the investment allows MGM to drive value from the online gaming and sports betting business without having to sell a stake in that unit or eventually spin it off.
IAC’s track record is undoubtedly impressive, as the company took stakes in the likes of ANGI Homeservices, Expedia, and Match in advance of consumers moving away from traditional offline services to internet venues.
Analysts are optimistic that success will play out again with BetMGM because iGaming and sports wagering are still in their infancy in the US. The gaming company has 34 million M Life Rewards members, and IAC has the know-how to convert plenty of those offline customers to online players.
With the addition of Diller and Levin, MGM has one of the gaming industry’s more star-laden board of directors in terms of investment community cache.
Chairman Salem is Providence Equity’s senior managing director emeritus and well-known on Wall Street, while director Keith Meister is a vaunted activist investor. His Corvex Management is one of MGM’s largest shareholders.
With control of 12 percent of MGM’s common stock, IAC is the largest investor of any stripe in the gaming company. Index fund giant Vanguard Group is next at 10.62 percent, followed by two other fund managers and Meister’s Corvex.
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