GVC Holdings PLC (LON: GVC) today announced the establishment of a 50/50 joint venture with MGM Resorts International to create a world-class sports betting and online gaming platform in the United States, well-positioned to engage in the new opportunities created by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the U.S. federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA.
With a proven track record as partners-of-choice, MGM Resorts and GVC will bring together market-leading assets, distinguished brands, proven and scalable proprietary technology, and extensive industry expertise to revolutionise the world of sports betting and online gaming in the United States. The formation of the joint venture significantly increases speed to market for both parties in an efficient and prudent manner, lowers execution risk, and creates meaningful early mover advantages.
Kenneth Alexander, Chief Executive of GVC, said: “MGM Resorts is a world leading entertainment business and the most trusted name in gaming, with the highest quality brands and management, and strong sports connectivity. This combined with GVC’s technology and experience in successfully building online gaming businesses across multiple markets presents a truly exciting opportunity for U.S. players and our respective shareholders. To be able to team up with a partner with such pedigree and knowledge, particularly in the U.S., is a real opportunity for GVC.”
Jim Murren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MGM Resorts, said: “We are proud to join forces with GVC, the largest and most dynamic global online betting operator, with existing reputable and trusted operations in the U.S.. With MGM Resorts’ expertise and leading position in key markets across the U.S., this historic partnership will be positioned to become the instant leader in technology, market access, sports relationships and brands. We are excited to benefit from GVC’s proprietary, best-in-class technology, digital customer acquisition expertise, and experience with adapting to new operating environments. GVC is unusually qualified due to their existing operations in the U.S.. Together, we are creating a one-of-a-kind platform that we expect will dominate the U.S. sports betting market.”
The new venture will have exclusive access to all U.S. land-based and online sports betting, online real money and free-to-play casino gaming, major tournament and online poker, and other similar future interactive businesses – facilitating entry into multiple digital gaming verticals under the playMGM and partypoker headline brands. The venture will also allow for full integration between the MGM Resorts and GVC loyalty programs, enhancing the user experience and value proposition for existing and future customers.
The joint venture is expected to create an unparalleled experience in the United States and will benefit from:
· Established Partners. This venture combines the expertise of two multi-billion-dollar, industry leading gaming and consumer businesses with a track record of successful joint ventures and partnerships.
· Market Leading Brands. Both parties will bring market leading brands into the venture, leveraging existing consumer loyalty to drive results. MGM Resorts holds a portfolio of iconic, well-known brands that the venture will be able to utilise as it enters the online sports betting and gaming markets. GVC will also be providing a portfolio of strong and complementary sports betting and gaming brands, including partypoker.
· Proprietary State-of-the-Art Technology. The venture will have access, both as an operator and as a supplier, to the proven, U.S. licensed, highly flexible, highly scalable state-of-the-art proprietary multi-channel technology provided by GVC to create a leading platform with world class content and broad reach and distribution.
· Broad Footprint with Large Addressable Customer Base. MGM Resorts has an established collection of market-leading properties in the United States, a database of over 27 million M life Rewards members, and has recently entered into an agreement to purchase the operating assets of Empire City, providing access to the densely populated, sports-heavy New York market. In addition, the joint venture will benefit from the MGM Resorts market access agreement with Boyd Gaming which provides a pathway to access a total of fifteen states with an addressable population of approximately 90 million.
· MGM Resorts’ Leading Sports Assets and Relationships. MGM Resorts will leverage its substantial sports, entertainment, and professional league relationships for the benefit of the joint venture. With a portfolio including T-Mobile Arena, over 25 other arena and entertainment venues, and extensive relationships with multiple local professional teams and national leagues, MGM Resorts is a leader in the sports entertainment industry.
· Scaled Enterprise with High Barriers to Entry and Early Mover Advantages. By establishing a strong and scaled national platform with relevant best-in-class assets, the venture will be well-positioned to capture meaningful market share and will be a partner of choice for additional commercial partners in the future.
Under the agreement, MGM Resorts and GVC have agreed to capitalise the venture with initial commitments of US$100 million per partner. The venture will establish a separate headquarters to be located in a major U.S. technology hub, select a leadership team comprised of best-in-class talent from each company and additional new hires, and form a four-person board of directors with equal representation from MGM Resorts and GVC to oversee the venture’s ongoing operations and growth. Both parties are excited to announce the formation of the joint venture in anticipation of the upcoming professional American football season.
The commencement of the joint venture operations are subject to gaming regulatory approvals.
The transaction constitutes a class 2 transaction for the purposes of the UK Listing Rules. For the purposes of the LR 10.4.1 R (Notification of class 2 transactions), the value of the gross assets of the joint venture is US$200 million and GVC shall satisfy the consideration in respect of the joint venture transaction with cash from its existing balance sheet. Further, there are no profits attributable to the assets of the joint venture.
Moelis & Company LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor, Deutsche Bank AG acted as a sponsor and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to GVC. PJT Partners LP acted as exclusive financial advisor and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP acted as legal advisor to MGM Resorts.