Wynn Interactive CEO Billings Open to Mergers and Acquisitions

Posted on: August 31, 2021, 08:09h. 

Last updated on: August 31, 2021, 03:07h.

Wynn Interactive is nearing its debut as a public company, and ahead of that launch, CEO Craig Billings is open to merger and acquisition opportunities.

Wynn Interactive
Wynn Interactive CEO Craig Billings (right) in an interview with Bloomberg. He says the company is open to mergers and acquisitions. (Image: Bloomberg)

In an interview with Bloomberg, Billings says the upstart online gaming unit of Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) is open to deals in the online casinos and sports wagering spaces.

We’re open minded,” he said. “Part of the rationale behind the de-SPAC transaction that we entered into with Austerlitz was to create a distinct public currency that would allow investors direct exposure to our interactive business. Of course, one of the byproducts of having that distinct public currency is the ability to transact, so we’ll see how the market develops.”

In May, Wynn reached an agreement with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Austerlitz Acquisition Corp. I (NYSE:AUS) to bring the interactive business public.

Wynn Interactive Could Be M&A Player

In a deal with estimated post-transaction enterprise value of $3.2 billion, Wynn Interactive will merge with the blank-check company, eventually becoming a standalone entity listed on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under “WBET.” Austerlitz is controlled by Las Vegas Golden Nights owner Bill Foley.

Relevant to the mergers and acquisitions conversation is that Wynn Interactive is shaping up as one of the financially sturdier de-SPACed companies. Foley’s Cannae Holdings (NYSE:CNNE) is backstopping share redemptions in the WynnBET deal, meaning $640 million in cash will be available to fund the combined entity’s operations and fuel new growth efforts.

Billings didn’t comment on specific companies Wynn Interactive could pursue as takeover targets. But it is apparent the iGaming and sports betting industries are ripe for consolidation. Just this month, Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) said it’s paying $2 billion in cash and equity to acquire Score Media and Gaming (NASDAQ:SCR) while DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) announced it will pay $1.56 billion in stock to buy Tilman Fertitta’s Golden Nugget Online Gaming (NASDAQ:GNOG).

Those deals sparked speculation regarding other potential takeover targets in the online casino and sports wagering spaces.

Wynn Interactive Could Use M&A to Play Catch Up

Wynn arrived at the booming domestic sports wagering scene late relative to some rivals. But dealmaking could help the operator grab more market share and catch up to competitors.

There’s time to do that because, as Billings notes, the industry is in its “first or second inning.” He adds sports betting is run rating at $5 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) per year, and that it will eventually be a $40 billion-plus market, perhaps by the end of the current decade.

WynnBET is live in seven states and has market access accords that can take that number to 15. The SPAC transaction with Austerlitz is slated to close by the end of this year.