Attention has been drawn to Western Australia, as the state’s government undertakes a final bidding round to sell its WA TAB bookmaker office – a transaction that will reshape Australia’s gambling landscape.
The auction sees Entain Plc once again step up to the M&A plate, as the FTSE100 gambling group bids to acquire the WA TAB as a retail asset to boost the standing of its Ladbrokes and NEDs brands.
However, a transformed Tabcorp Holdings is deemed as ‘favourite suitor’ to win the auction, that will see the ASX company take control of all Australian licensed betting offices.
Entain has long held desires to expand within Australia, as last year it tempted Tabcorp to sell its media and wagering unit for €2.3 billion – amid a business review undertaken by the ASX firm’s new board of directors.
The offer was rejected by Tabcorp Chairman Steven Gregg, who announced to the ASX that Tabcorp would be split-up between its TAB Wagering unit and Tatts Lottery division – a process corporate governance is currently undertaking.
As Entain and Tabcorp are expected to clash once again, an outside bid for the WA TAB is anticipated by Australian bookmaking kingpin Matthew Tripp the former owner of market leading online bookmaker Sportsbet AU.
Australian media reports that Tripp has a “room full of oddsmakers and counters, as well as VIP sales staffers, eager to get into pricing races and win customers. The only thing missing is a major outlet.”
A successful bid by Tripp, could see a new player enter the Australia’s playing field as Tripp is reported to be closely aligned with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp International that seeks to launch its FOX Bet brand within Australia.
The government of Western Australia is understood to want to finalise the sale of WA TAB by “the middle of this year” – having begun the process of reviewing bids last November.