Bally’s turns to Europe with £2bn offer for Gamesys

Image source: Shutterstock and Bally (logo)

Bally’s Corporation has reached an ‘agreement in principle’ to acquire Gamesys Group Plc after proposing an initial approach of +£2 billion.

The US gambling conglomerate, which seeks to aggressively expand its digital portfolio, has offered an £18.50 cash per share offer to Gamesys investors to open negotiations.

Bally’s stated that its offer equates to a near 40% premium on Gamesys’ share price from 25 January of £13.30 – when the conglomerate undertook its initial approach.

Under the terms of the proposal, Bally’s is also offering a Share Alternative to the UK operator’s stakeholders, allowing them to acquire New Bally’s Shares at an exchange rate of 0.343 per Gamesys share.

Gamesys board has accepted Bally’s approach, underlining that a ‘possible combination’ holds strategic and financial rationale creating long-term value for its investors.

“From our first meeting to now it has been the entrepreneurial energy of the two businesses that has brought us to the edge of creating a uniquely powerful company,” read Gamesys CEO Lee Fenton’s statement.

Operating 11 US land-based casinos across seven states, Bally’s has moved to rapidly expand its digital capacity in recent months by acquiring the bolt-on assets of SportCallerMonkey Knife Fight and Bet.Works.

The NYSE gambling group is reported to be building its US sports betting and iGaming platform through strategic M&A moves – thereby avoiding the standard route of partnering with a European technology provider.

JPG acquired Gamesys for a valuation of £490 million in 2019 – assuming the name of its newly acquired company.

Should the combination proceed, Fenton will become the chief executive of the new digital unit at Bally’s, with two further Gamesys directors joining the enlarged board.

“We believe that this combination would mark a transformational step in our journey to become a leading integrated, omni-channel gaming company with a B2B2C business,” commented Soo Kim, Chairman of Bally’s.

“We think that Gamesys’ proven technology platform alongside its highly respected and experienced management team, combined with the US market access that Bally’s provides, should allow the combined group to capitalise on the significant growth opportunities in the US sports betting and online markets.”

Soo Kim continued: “We are truly excited about the opportunities that this combination would offer and the enhanced and comprehensive experience and product offering that it would enable us to offer our customers.”