CEO of Ladbrokes owner Entain quits days after snubbing MGM approach

Shay Segev lured by offer from streaming platform DAZN that Entain cannot match

Ladbrokes owner Entain’s chief executive Shay Segev is leaving the gambling company in a surprise move after the company last week rejected an $11 billion approach from MGM Resorts International. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Ladbrokes owner Entain’s chief executive Shay Segev is leaving the gambling company in a surprise move after the company last week rejected an $11 billion approach from MGM Resorts International. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Ladbrokes owner Entain’s chief executive Shay Segev is leaving the gambling company after just seven months in the role, a surprise move after the company last week rejected an $11 billion approach from MGM Resorts International

Mr Segev, who will remain in his role for six months or until a successor is in place, will join global sports streaming platform DAZN as co-CEO. He said MGM’s approach had no bearing on his decision to leave.

Entain reiterated that MGM’s proposal of 1,383 pence per share significantly undervalued the company. It has asked MGM for more information on the strategic rationale for a combination.

“This changes nothing with respect to the board’s view of the recent proposal from MGM Resorts International to acquire Entain,” chairman Barry Gibson said.

However, analysts at Jefferies and Peel Hunt suggested that Mr Segev’s exit makes a takeover by MGM more likely.

“The timing is especially awkward given the ongoing situation with MGM, but we think MGM may now be more encouraged to opportunistically raise its bid,” Jefferies said, adding that it saw a 1,650 pence valuation for Entain, around 20 per cent higher than MGM’s current proposal.

In a separate statement, DAZN said Mr Segev’s background in technology and digital transformation at Entain and previously Playtech meant he was ideally positioned to help the company grow.

As CEO, Mr Segev, who joined Entain in 2016 as chief operating officer, steered the company through pandemic-led disruption, promised to exit unregulated markets by 2023 and changed the company’s name from GVC.

Entain had expanded rapidly under Mr Segev’s predecessor, long-time CEO Kenny Alexander, from high street betting into an online gambling powerhouse through a series of acquisitions such as the bwin, Coral and Eurobet brands.

“We are sorry that Shay has decided to leave us but recognise that we cannot match the rewards that he has been promised,” Entain’s Mr Gibson said.

Separately, IAC chairman Barry Diller is quoted in the Financial Times expressing doubt that MGM’s attempt to take over Entain will succeed. – Reuters