MGM, Fanatics Could Be Buyers if Sports Betting M&A Heats Up

Posted on: March 6, 2023, 02:29h. 

Last updated on: March 7, 2023, 01:06h.

Analysts widely expect consolidation in the sports wagering industry to intensify this year, noting MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) and Fanatics could be among the potential buyers.

Michigan iGaming sports betting online casino
Actor Jamie Foxx appears on a BetMGM billboard. BetMGM could be one of the big targets in 2023 sports betting M&A activity. (Image: Detroit News)

Following dismal showings by sports wagering equities in the latter stages of 2021 and over last year, the industry’s increasing focus on profitability and reduced promotional spending is stoking renewed investor enthusiasm. Those factors also potentially contribute to a fresh round of mergers and acquisitions activity in the space.

Subject to market conditions, I would expect to see a flurry of M&A activity in 2023 in the online gaming space in the US and abroad,” said Ramy Ibrahim, managing director advising gaming and other industries at investment bank Moelis & Company, in an interview with Insider.

Analysts and strategists interviewed by the publication speculate that the global sports wagering industry could be awash in marquee transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, as 2023 unfolds. Some are familiar, while others are unlikely to materialize.

BetMGM, Fanatics Drive Sports Betting Deal-Making

Analysts believe BetMGM and Fanatics will likely be among the big names driving deal-making in the sports wagering space this year.

In the case of BetMGM, consensus is emerging that MGM Resorts International could move to buy out Entain’s (OTC: GMVHY) stake in the internet casino and online sportsbook operator. That’s not a stretch, because it’s more economical than buying Entain outright — a deal MGM executives recently said isn’t in the offing. Each company owns 50% of BetMGM.

Likewise, privately held Fanatics — long attached to a slew of industry consolidation rumors — could finally make an acquisition aimed at bolstering its sports wagering footprint. The company isn’t opposed to deals, but has yet to move forward with a sports betting-related transaction.

Consolidation in the industry this year may deliver more transactions comparable to DraftKings’ (NASDAQ: DKNG) purchase of Golden Nugget Online Gaming, or see suitors make deals to enter specific markets or regions, according to Insider.

Other Interesting Deal Possibilities

In addition to a potential wave of consolidation, the sports wagering industry may see other marquee transactions this year. Those could include Fanatics commencing an initial public offering (IPO) and FanDuel parent Flutter Entertainment (OTC: PDYPY) listing its shares in New York to broaden its investor base.

Flutter management already noted that such a move would take precedence over potentially spinning off a portion of FanDuel to public investors.

As Insider reported, other big transactions could come in the form of European sports betting behemoth Bet365 entering the US market, and Hard Rock International looking to bolster its iGaming/sports betting footprint in some form.

Hard Rock is the gaming operation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Beyond land-based casinos in its home state, the company operates brick-and-mortar venues in a variety of other states, including Nevada, New Jersey, and Ohio — each of which has thriving sports wagering markets.

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