MARKET REPORT: Betting stocks Flutter and Entain soar as Australia's Crown Resorts accepts £5bn takeover offer from private equity giant Blackstone
London-listed betting stocks Flutter and Entain were soaring after Australia's Crown Resorts accepted a £5billion takeover offer from private equity giant Blackstone.
Crown, as well as owning a number of prestige hotels, has a bunch of gaming assets. It owns Betfair Australasia, Chill Gaming and DGN Games along with a 50 per cent stake in the Aspers casino chain here in the UK.
The rattle of private equity money, £1.9billion of which will go to James Packer, son of the late media magnate Kerry Packer, was heard across the Square Mile and set off more talk about consolidation in the sector.
Paddy Power and Pokerstars owner Flutter rose 3.4 per cent, or 302p, to 9188p while Ladbrokes and Foxy Bingo group Entain was up 3.2 per cent, or 43p, to 1403p.
For investors in the FTSE 250's Playtech, which creates the software used by gaming companies, the wait for a deal goes on after it said takeover talks with corporate finance advisory firm TT Bond Partners are continuing after 15 weeks of discussions. The board said it is still exploring options for maximising shareholder value.
In February, Playtech shareholders rejected a £1.5billion offer from Australia's Aristocrat, with a large group of Asian investors said to have voted against the deal.
Other suitors, including the Gopher Investments consortium (the second-largest shareholder and an affiliate of TTB), and the JKO Play vehicle, led by Eddie Jordan, have also walked away.
But there seems to be optimism that a deal will happen. Playtech rose 6.7 per cent, or 34p, to 539p. Across the wider market, the FTSE 100 was up 1.2 per cent, or 87.24 points, to 7389.98, which meant it was more or less flat over the trading week. The FTSE 250 rose 0.8 per cent, or 146.93 points, to 19,835.95