Entain’s STS Group acquisition plan has cleared a significant regulatory hurdle, paving the way for the proposed £750m deal. Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection gave the thumbs up, affirming the deal’s fair conditions.
Navigating the Betting Monopoly
The approval was crucial due to STS Group’s hold on over 51% of Poland’s sports betting market. According to the deal terms revealed on 13 July, Entain will offer PLN 24.80 (£4.80) per share. This rate represents a significant premium on STS’s 2023 trading volume.
Financing the Deal
Entain has already bagged £600m from a private bookbuild, securing most of the deal’s funds. A day after announcing its intention to acquire STS, this operation took place. EMMA Capital, a CEE private equity fund, has pledged to finance 25% of the deal.
Building Stakeholder Support
The Juroszek Foundations, owning about 70% of STS shares, has promised to tender their stake. This move ensures the acceptance threshold gets met. The final step for Entain’s bid involves receiving acceptances for at least half of the STS shares.
Entain’s board plans to initiate the acceptance period for the offer on 14 July 2023. They expect to close it by mid-August, with the transaction’s completion shortly following. On 10 August, Entain will disclose updates on the STS deal and BetMGM’s profitability during its Interim 2023 results announcement. As they noted, “Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection was satisfied with the conditions of its tender,” marking a key step towards their strategic acquisition.
- Increased Market Consolidation: Entain’s acquisition of STS Group exemplifies the ongoing consolidation trend within the iGaming sector. As companies aim to bolster their market presence, this move could trigger similar acquisitions, leading to fewer but more dominant entities in the industry. Worth noting that this deal’s “funding logic” has been challenged by Entain shareholders, as reported by Bloomberg.
- Potential for Enhanced Services: With Entain’s extensive experience and resources, the company’s entry could drive improvements in product offerings and customer experience in Poland’s betting landscape. However, how the new offerings will compete with existing local services remains to be seen.
- Regional Influence: This acquisition has broader implications for Europe’s iGaming market. Entain’s move into Poland, a significant market in Central and Eastern Europe, might inspire other international operators to explore similar opportunities in the region, impacting competition and market dynamics at a pan-European level.