Posted on: May 24, 2023, 01:32h.
Last updated on: May 24, 2023, 03:03h.
Amid turnover in the C-suite, Swedish online gaming operator Kindred Group Plc (OTC: KNDGF) is said to be ramping up a sale process and could draw interest from some of the industry’s biggest names, including Flutter Entertainment (OTC: PDYPY) and MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM).
The rumor sent shares of Kindred higher by as much as 7.7% in Stockholm trading on Wednesday. The operator of the Unibet online sportsbook and the 32Red internet casino announced in late April it was mulling a potential sale. Since then, Johan Wilsby announced he’ll step down as chief financial officer later this year while CEO Henrik Tjärnström resigned with immediate effect on May 17.
Those departures stoked speculation that a sale would now be easier to execute. Kindred is reportedly asking suitors to submit first-round bids by the end of this month. Citing unidentified sources close to the matter, Bloomberg reported that Kindred has been in touch with Entain Plc (OTC: GMVHY), Evolution AB, and Flutter regarding a transaction.
Entain and Flutter, the parent company of FanDuel, could evaluate specific parts of the Kindred portfolio rather than the entire company.
Why MGM Makes for an Interesting Kindred Suitor
MGM hasn’t confirmed publicly that it’s interested in Kindred, but for multiple reasons, it makes for an interesting pairing. Those factors include Keith Meister’s Corvex Management being one of the driving forces behind Kindred considering a corporate action.
The activist investor built a stake in the Swedish company last year, pushing for change. He’s also a member of the MGM Board of Directors. The casino giant has signaled an interest in iGaming acquisitions and expanding abroad. It did just that with its 2022, $607 million acquisition of LeoVegas AB, another Swedish company.
Beyond the Meister ties and the potential Sweden coincidence, there’s another point of interest. If MGM and Entain both bid for Kindred, that would pit the two owners of BetMGM against each other.
Entain is one of the most acquisitive companies in the industry, something MGM surely knows, but the extent of the former’s interest in Kindred isn’t yet known. Kindred’s market capitalization of $2.58 billion makes it approachable for any number of larger suitors.
Fanatics a Possibility?
In an interview with Bloomberg, David Brohan, an analyst at Goodbody, mentioned Fanatics and MGM as possible suitors for Kindred.
Fanatics can afford Kindred, but it’s less than two weeks removed from announcing the $150 million, all-cash purchase of PointsBet’s US operations. That spurred chatter Fanatics could look to make another sports wagering deal, but the company’s focus is on building out its domestic gaming operations and it hasn’t mentioned any near-term desire to expand that business outside of the US.
Even without Fanatics, Kindred won’t be short of suitors and it’s possible a deal could materialize in the coming weeks.