Entain CEO Shay Segev is leaving the company less than five months after taking the top job, and the move could have wide-ranging implications for US sports betting.
Segev will become co-CEO at streaming platform DAZN once his six-month notice period at Entain is up. Entain, a sports betting and gambling company, is the new name of GVC.
Segev leaves after 15 years at the company but just five months as CEO. Entain chair Barry Gibson said he was sorry to see him go but the company “could not match the rewards DAZN had promised.”
The company has already begun the search for a successor. However, the timing of the departure prompted additional speculation about the sale of Entain to its BetMGM co-parent, MGM Resorts.
What does Segev departure mean for MGM bid?
Jefferies analysts said in a note this morning:
“We think MGM may now be more encouraged to opportunistically raise its bid. We see at least a £16.50 take-out valuation for Entain, circa 20% higher than MGM’s £13.83 proposal.”
Entain’s share price was down 1% to £14.57 at the time time of writing.
MGM has the backing of its biggest shareholder, IAC, to increase its previous offer. However, IAC chairman Barry Diller is not overly bullish on the prospects of getting a deal done.
He told the UK’s Financial Times: “It would be great if MGM could do this with Entain but whether it happens or not, I am skeptical and if it doesn’t, I am sanguine. I am absolutely sure we will be in a leadership position whatever.”
Entain still wants a higher offer
For what it’s worth, Entain chairman Barry Gibson said Segev’s departure had “no impact” on the MGM deal.
“The Board remains unanimous in our view that the [current] proposal significantly undervalues the Company and its prospects,” Gibson said.
Segev also stressed the MGM offer and Entain’s response had “absolutely no bearing” on his decision.
“I fully support the Board’s decision to reject their proposal,” Segev added. “Entain has a great team of leaders and an exciting future ahead through its growth and sustainability strategy. I will do all I can to continue to support the company.”
What does this mean for DAZN in sports betting?
The move could also portend a greater focus on gambling at DAZN. The company has been mooted as a potential media partner for US sportsbooks. Even more ambitiously, other streaming firms like FuboTV have spoken about pivoting to betting to improve profit margins.
However, DAZN was relatively vague about its plans following the Segev hire.
“Segev’s background in technology and proven experience in digital transformation at both Entain and previously Videobet and Playtech, means that he is ideally positioned to help drive DAZN through its next phase of rapid growth,” the company said in a statement.
Segev is arguably best known for overseeing successful integrations following acquisitions at his previous career stops.
“This role allows me to combine my passion for sport and transformative technology to disrupt and improve the consumer experience,” Segev added.