Posts Tagged ‘Billion’

The Stars Group Buys Sky Betting & Gaming for $4.7 Billion

 The Stars Group Buys Sky Betting & Gaming for $4.7 Billion

The Stars Group announced over the weekend that it has acquired Sky Betting & Gaming (SBG) for $ 4.7 billion in combination cash and stock deal. According to The Stars Group in a press release, the addition of Sky will make the company the largest publicly traded online gambling company.

The Stars Group is clearly best known as an online poker company, as its name comes from its ownership of PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker room, but this purchase balances the company’s numbers quite nicely. The Stars Group says that if Sky, CrownBet and William Hill Australia (the latter two of which were also recently acquired) were counted in the 2017 financials, poker would make up just 37 percent of The Stars Group’s revenue. An almost equal number – 34 percent – would have come from sportsbook, while 26 percent would have been casino.

“The acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming is a landmark moment in The Stars Group’s history,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, TSG’s Chief Executive Officer, in the press release. “SBG operates one of the world’s fastest growing sportsbooks and is one of the United Kingdom’s leading gaming providers. SBG’s premier sports betting product is the ideal complement to our industry-leading poker platform. The ability to offer two low-cost acquisition channels of this magnitude provides The Stars Group with great growth potential and will significantly increase our ability to create winning moments for our customers.”

“We are delighted to join forces with The Stars Group,” added Richard Flint, Sky Betting & Gaming’s Chief Executive Officer. “We have had a fantastic last few years and would like to thank CVC and Sky for supporting us in becoming a leading online operator in the UK. This transaction allows us to offer our best-in-class products to a truly global audience. We’re excited about our future together.”

The Stars Group outlined the benefits of the acquisition, the first of which we have touched upon:

• Greater revenue diversification and significantly enhanced exposure to sports betting, the world’s largest and fastest growing online gaming segment, as the majority of SBG’s revenues are generated by sports betting.
• An increased presence in regulated markets, particularly within the United Kingdom, the world’s largest regulated online gaming market.
• The development of sports betting as a second low-cost customer acquisition channel, complementing The Stars Group’s core poker business and enabling more effective cross-sell to players across multiple verticals.
• Improved products and technology as a result of the addition of SBG’s innovative casino and sports book offerings, and portfolio of popular mobile apps.
• Identified cost synergies of at least $ 70 million per year.

The Stars Group will pay CVC Capital Partners and Sky plc, the owners of Sky Betting & Gaming, $ 3.6 billion in cash. To make up the other $ 1.1 billion, The Stars Group will pay with 37.9 million newly issued common shares. The value is based on the closing price of The Stars Group stock (NASDAQ: TSG) on April 20th, which was $ 29.30.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and has been unanimously approved by TSG’s Board of Directors.

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Penn National Gaming to Acquire Pinnacle Entertainment for $2.8 Billion

 Penn National Gaming to Acquire Pinnacle Entertainment for $2.8 Billion

Penn National Gaming announced Monday that it has agreed to acquire Pinnacle Entertainment for $ 2.8 billion in combined cash and stock. Pinnacle shareholders will receive $ 20 per share of Pinnacle plus 0.42 shares of Penn National stock for each Pinnacle share they own. The implied price per share is $ 32.47, a 36 premium for Pinnacle based on the company’s closing price on October 4th.

Penn National CEO Timothy Wilmott did some of the usual corporate cheerleading-speak in a press release:

The combined company will benefit from enhanced scale, additional growth opportunities and best-in-class operations, creating a more efficient integrated gaming company. Going forward, we will have the financial and operational flexibility to further execute on our strategic objectives, while maintaining our track record of industry-leading profit margins and generating significant cash flow to reduce leverage over time. We look forward to welcoming Pinnacle’s talented employees to our team and to further enhancing our status as North America’s leading regional gaming operator.

Anthony Sanfilippo, Chariman and CEO of Pinnacle, also had some things to say:

Pinnacle shareholders will receive immediate value from the cash consideration, as well as participation in the longer-term growth of Penn National that we expect will occur from the integration of two great companies into a more efficient, larger-scale gaming entertainment platform. We are also pleased that Boyd Gaming will be acquiring our Ameristar properties in St. Charles and Kansas City, along with Belterra Casino Resort and Belterra Park. We look forward to working closely with Penn National and Boyd to seamlessly transition the Pinnacle businesses to their respective new owners.

As Sanfilippo mentioned, Boyd Gaming – mostly notable the owner of the Orleans, Gold Coast, and Fremont casinos in Las Vegas – is buying four of Pinnacle’s casinos in the deal. The purchase will be made from Penn National after the initial acquisition is completed. Boyd Gaming will pay $ 575 million in cash for the properties.

Both Penn National and Pinnacle Entertainment are “regional” gaming companies, focusing on smaller casinos, mostly in places other than Las Vegas and Atlantic City. That doesn’t mean none of their properties are in gaming hotbeds. Penn National owns the Tropicana in Las Vegas as well as the M Resort in Henderson, Nevada. Its casinos mostly concentrate in Mississippi and the Midwest; Hollywood Casino is one of Penn National’s main brands.

Going into the deal, Pinnacle owned sixteen casino properties in the U.S., though of course four of those will be going to Boyd Gaming. Pinnacle also focuses on the Midwest, Mississippi, and Louisiana. It is (was, I guess) the owner of the Ameristar casino chain.

The boards of both companies have already approved the deal, but it still needs approval from shareholders and gaming authorities. Assuming all goes as planned, the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

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Caesars Sells Harrah’s Las Vegas for $1.14 Billion

 Caesars Sells Harrah’s Las Vegas for $1.14 Billion

Caesars Entertainment Corporation has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell Harrah’s Las Vegas to VICI Properties for $ 1.14 billion. If this sounds rather shocking, you may be relieved to know (or not really care, as the case may be) that it is all part of a plan.

In mid-November, Caesars announced that it will acquire Centaur Holdings, LLC for $ 1.7 billion in cash. Centaur owns Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, Indiana and the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville, Indiana. The sale of Harrah’s Las Vegas is being used to finance the Centaur deal.

It will also continue to be business as usual at Harrah’s, as Caesars will enter into a 15-year lease for the property, paying VICI an initial annual rent of $ 87.4 million, a number which will increase as the years go on. Caesars will continue to operate Harrah’s. When the lease term is up, Caesars will be able to extend the lease for up to 20 years in four five-year extensions.

On top of that, Caesars is acquiring an 18.4 acre plot of land adjacent to Harrah’s from VICI on which it plans to build a 300,000 square foot convention center. The development “is expected to feature the largest column-free ballroom in the United States and to be outfitted with state-of-the-art technology.”

“The transactions we are announcing today demonstrate our commitment to pursuing growth opportunities while maintaining balance-sheet discipline,” said Mark Frissora, President and Chief Executive Officer of Caesars Entertainment, in a press release. “We expect the sale and leaseback of Harrah’s Las Vegas will allow us to acquire Centaur and develop the convention center without increasing leverage. The sale and leaseback transaction is our first post-emergence transaction with VICI and maintains Harrah’s Las Vegas’ connectivity to our network, which will create value and provide benefits to our guests. The acquisition of the adjacent land and development of the convention center allows us to develop another important destination right in the middle of our center-Strip footprint.”

That center-strip footprint includes, from north to south on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip: Harrah’s, Linq, Flamingo, Cromwell, Bally’s, Paris, and Planet Hollywood. Caesars Palace is across the street from Harrah’s. The company also owns the Rio just off the Strip, which is the home of the World Series of Poker.

The deal stipulates that once the convention center is completed, Caesars can actually require VICI buy the property and lease it back to Caesars, like it is doing with Harrah’s. If Caesars does not exercise that option, VICI can decide for itself if it wants to do it, anyway.

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Golden Nugget Owner Tilman Fertitta Buys Houston Rockets for $2.2 Billion

 Golden Nugget Owner Tilman Fertitta Buys Houston Rockets for $2.2 Billion

The Houston Rockets NBA franchise announced this week that it has been purchased by Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels. Though the team did not disclose details of the transaction, a source close to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that Fertitta paid $ 2.2 billion for the club.

In a press release issued by the Rockets, Fertitta said:

I am truly honored to have been chosen as the next owner of the Houston Rockets. This is a life-long dream come true. Leslie Alexander has been one of the best owners in all of sports, and I thank him immensely for this opportunity. He has the heart of a champion. Lastly, out of respect for the NBA’s approval process, I can say no more other than I am overwhelmed with emotion to have this opportunity in my beloved city of Houston.

“I am excited to welcome and pass the torch to Tilman. He is a Houstonian, business leader and committed to the success and excellence of the Rockets both on and off the basketball court,” said current Rockets owner Leslie Alexander. “I have personally known Tilman for over 24 years and don’t think I could have found anyone more capable of continuing the winning tradition of our Houston Rockets.”

Alexander is making a pretty penny off of the sale. He originally purchased the Rockets in 1993 for $ 85 million. Fertitta was in on the bidding, coming up just short with his offer of $ 81 million.

The $ 2.2 billion purchase price was well above the $ 1.65 billion valuation Forbes magazine placed on the franchise this year. According to Wojnarowski’s sources, there was a bidding war for the Rockets, as Alexander received multiple offers starting at $ 2 billion.

This is not Fertitta’s first foray into professional sports in the United States. He was one of the original investors in the Houston Texans, the NFL team which was established in 1999 and began play in 2002. He was required to sell his portion of the team in 2008, though, because of his gambling business. Though the NFL makes tons of money because of gambling, the league’s rules stated at the time that no staff member of a team could be associated with gambling.

In 2003, Fertitta bought the naming rights to the Crawford Boxes section of the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park, an area of seating beyond the left field wall. The section was renamed “Landry’s Crawford Boxes,” taking on the name of Fertitta’s massive restaurant company, Landry’s Inc., which actually owns Golden Nugget.

Tilman Fertitta also has a history with the Houston Rockets beyond his previous bid for the team, serving as an advisory director during the team’s back-to-back NBA championships in the 1993-1994 and 1994-1995 seasons.

Houston clearly has more important things to think about right now than what billionaire owns one of its sports teams, but the Rockets did acknowledge this in the announcement, saying, “This process started back in July, and it is truly unfortunate that this announcement is occurring amidst the aftermath of one of the biggest tragedies in the history of our great City.”

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Ex-Amaya CEO David Baazov Makes $3.48 Billion Offer to Buy Company

 Ex Amaya CEO David Baazov Makes $3.48 Billion Offer to Buy Company

Amaya Inc., parent company of PokerStars, announced on Monday that it has received an offer from former CEO David Baazov to purchase the entire company. The offer price is CAD $ 24 per share, making the total deal valued at approximately CAD $ 3.48 billion.

Amaya’s stock price closed at CAD $ 18.34 on Friday, so Baazov’s offer represents a healthy 31 percent premium. Shares have leapt on the news, opening Monday morning at CAD $ 21. They are currently at CAD $ 21.50, a more than 17 percent increase from Friday’s close.

Baazov owns 17.2 percent of Amaya; his offer is not technically directly from him, but rather from a company that has yet to be created of which he will be the head. He also, as one might expect, will not be fronting all of the capital required to make the purchase. Four funds are contributing to the effort.

Baazov was the CEO of Amaya when the company bought the Rational Group, the firm that owned PokerStars, back in June 2014 in a stunning deal worth nearly $ 5 billion.

In March 2016, Baazov was charged by the Quebec’s financial regulatory body, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) with insider trading in connection with the PokerStars purchase. The AMF said he was involved with “aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya inc., and communicating privileged information.”

Shortly after the charges were filed, he took a leave of absence from Amaya. In August, he made that departure permanent, resigning from his post at the company. The news got worse for him in September, as the AMF accused he and others of putting together a kickback scheme to reward each other for insider information that led to trading profits. Kickbacks allegedly took the form of cash, checks, and even jewelry like a $ 13,000 Rolex watch. There is even evidence of an alleged 10 percent profit distribution to people involved in the 2014 PokerStars sale.

Amaya issued a statement on Baazov’s acquisition offer. It has been reprinted below:

Amaya Inc. (NASDAQ: AYA; TSX: AYA) confirmed today that it has received a non-binding all cash offer from its former Chief Executive Officer, David Baazov, on behalf of an entity to be formed to acquire Amaya at a price of CAD$ 24.00 per common share. Amaya also confirms that the offer provides for a USD$ 200 million deposit into escrow upon execution of a definitive agreement in respect of a potential transaction that would be converted into a one-year structurally subordinated, interest bearing debt obligation to fund a portion of the USD$ 400 million deferred purchase price for Amaya’s acquisition of the Rational Group in August 2014, such amount to be convertible into equity following the closing of such potential transaction.

The Board of Directors of Amaya, with the assistance of its advisors, will consider Mr. Baazov’s offer.  Shareholders of Amaya do not need to take any action with respect to any offer at this time. Amaya intends to provide updates if and when necessary in accordance with applicable securities laws.

As of the time of this release, there can be no assurance that Mr. Baazov’s offer or that any future bid or offer will ultimately result in a completed transaction.

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