Entain Plc (OTC: GMVHF) is reportedly considering adding Eminence Capital founder Ricky Sandler to its board of directors, which could potentially lead to the sale of the operator’s 50% interest in BetMGM.
According to sources familiar with the matter, The Sunday Times reported that Entain could add Sandler to its board before the end of the month. This news comes shortly after the resignation of CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen, whom Sandler openly criticized. In June, he spoke out against the $750 million purchase of STS Holding, calling it a sign of Entain’s lack of financial understanding. As of the end of the second quarter, Eminence Capital owned 2.1% of Entain’s freely floating shares.
If Entain appoints Sandler to the board, it could be seen as an effort to appease activist investors Dendur Capital and Sached Heam Capital, who recently took stakes in the gaming company and advocated for Sandler’s appointment.
The timing of Sandler potentially joining Entain’s board is particularly interesting given that three days after Keith Meister’s Corvex Management announced it had taken a 4.4% stake in the gaming company. Corvex is a major investor in MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), which is Entain’s partner in BetMGM. Additionally, Meister is a member of the casino operator’s board.
Previously, Sandler has suggested Entain consider selling all or part of its BetMGM stake to raise capital and refocus on established markets such as Australia, Europe, and the UK. MGM, which has expressed interest in acquiring full control of BetMGM, may be open to negotiating a buyout of Entain.
However, according to The Sunday Times, Entain will not appoint Meister to its board due to his membership on the boards of BetMGM and MGM.
As BetMGM is becoming increasingly profitable and targeting $500 million in EBITDA by 2026, the company may be nearing self-funding status. This means Entain may not need to make additional capital contributions to the online gaming entity, making it more attractive to retain its interest in the business unless a potential MGM offer for that stake is highly compelling.