Entain and SuperBet Halt Acquisition Efforts for the Slovenian Športna Loterija

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Entain and SuperBet, two major players in the gambling industry, have withdrawn their bids to acquire Športna Loterija, the Slovenian sports betting monopoly.

The Slovenian Ministry of Finance confirmed the news, stating that the government's consent would have been required for the transaction to proceed.

Reports indicate that the bids for Športna Loterija's shares were approximately €50 million. However, the proposed sale of the monopoly to a foreign gambling operator has sparked controversy among the Slovenian public. Concerns have been raised about the potential consequences for Slovenian sports, as the monopoly's revenue currently funds national sports through a levy.

Športna Loterija's ownership is currently divided among various entities, including the Skiing Association of Slovenia, Olympic Committee of Slovenia, Post of Slovenia, and Lottery of Slovenia, each holding a 20% share. The Football Association of Slovenia owns a 17% stake, with the remainder split between two smaller shareholders.

Unforeseen Effect After Acquisition

Entain, through its joint venture with Czech investment fund Emma Capital called Entain CEE, recently announced the acquisition of Polish gaming operator STS for £750 million. This move is part of Entain's strategy to acquire local operators in different markets rather than entering new markets with its existing brands. The goal is to generate 100% of revenue from regulated markets.

However, Entain's decision to fund the STS deal by issuing new shares has drawn criticism from some shareholders. Eminence Capital, which owns a 2.1% stake in Entain, expressed its opposition to the move, calling it an "illogical" deal that destroys shareholder value. The stock price of Entain fell 8% following the announcement, leading to concerns about the company's capital allocation and long-term value creation.

The shareholder further suggested that if confidence in Entain continues to decline, there may be support for a sale of the company to MGM at a lower price than previously anticipated. It remains to be seen how Entain will address these concerns and manage its acquisitions moving forward.

The withdrawal of Entain and SuperBet from the Športna Loterija acquisition race indicates that the controversial sale will not proceed as planned. This development also sheds light on the challenges and considerations involved in the acquisition of gambling monopolies and the impact such transactions can have on the wider industry and local communities.

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