Packer's Crown Resorts puts CrownBet in play - 24th
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led by Matthew Tripp, spent $80 million in marketing
in 2016. Arsineh Houspian
John Stensholt James Thomson
Packer's Crown Resorts is set to divest its 62 per
cent stake in online bookmaker CrownBet, a move that
could spark merger and acquisition activity in the
is understood to consider CrownBet a non-core asset
and is keen to shift it from its balance sheet and
concentrate on its core casino assets in Melbourne
and Perth as well as the construction of its Barangaroo
casino and hotel. Crown has land in Las Vegas for
sale and also sold its stake in Macau's Melco Crown
could shift into a new entity and combine with the
local operations of a rival, such as William Hill,
a deal CrownBet chief executive Matthew Tripp first
discussed with William Hill management in late 2016.
Tripp is understood to have held further talks this
week in the United Kingdom, where William Hill is
listed on the local stock exchange. The stock rose
2 per cent on Thursday night.
Hill's Australian operations are run by Tom Waterhouse.
said on Friday it was in discussions concerning the
future of its 62 per cent stake in CrownBet, which
it acquired almost three years ago when it agreed
to a joint venture with Mr Tripp's then BetEasy.
a terse statement released to the market, Crown said
it noted media speculation about "consolidation
in the online wagering industry" and specifically
a potential tie up with William Hill.
evaluates opportunities regarding its investments
from time to time," the company said.
confirms that it is in discussions concerning its
interest in CrownBet. There is no certainty as to
whether any transaction will eventuate."
crowded online wagering sector is seen as ripe for
consolidation, as existing players come to grips with
soaring marketing costs and fight for market share
as the pending merger between Tabcorp and Tatts Group
creates a market giant.
bookmakers such as CrownBet are in a race to scale
up to compete with Tabcorp and Sportsbet, now the
biggest online bookmaker in Australia, and deal with
regulatory challenges, such as a new point of consumption
tax in several states and a ban on credit betting.
accountants for the 2017 financial year showed the
company spent a whopping $99 million on marketing
expenses in the year to June, up from about $80 million
in the previous year,
2017 figuring included CrownBet's big wagering partnership
with the AFL, sponsorship of sports such as Supercars,
horse racing advertising and spots on live television
sports and events throughout the year.
broke even before tax, depreciation and amortisation
in 2017, with gross revenue of about $1.5 billion
and wagering revenue of $224 million, up from $157
million in the previous year and halved its pre-tax
loss from $24 million to $12.7 million.
Australian Financial Review)