(Bloomberg) — Bally’s Corp. investor Standard General offered to buy the remaining shares of the casino and entertainment company at a 30% premium, swooping in after the stock’s recent tumble.
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The private-equity firm, already Bally’s largest holder with a 21% stake, said in a filing Tuesday that it proposed paying $38 a share. A deal won’t move forward unless it’s approved by a special committee of independent directors and the majority of other shareholders, Standard General said.
Once just a single horse track in Rhode Island, Bally’s has grown dramatically in recent years through a series of acquisitions led by its chairman, Soo Kim, who is also the founder and managing partner of Standard General. Bally’s has built up a network of casinos from New Jersey to Nevada and last year acquired U.K. online gambling operator Gamesys Group Plc.
In a letter to Bally’s board, Kim said Standard General would finance a deal through the sale and leaseback of Bally’s properties, a common maneuver in the casino business. If the offer is rejected, Kim said there wouldn’t be any hard feelings and Standard General plans to remain a shareholder.
“As a result of our long-term involvement with the Company and its predecessor, we have a detailed understanding of Bally’s, its business and assets, which will enable us to move quickly to finalize a transaction,” he told the board.
Standard General may be getting a bargain with Bally’s shares down 60% from their March highs, through Monday’s close. The gaming industry has been under pressure broadly with the pandemic hurting customer traffic. Bally’s has also gotten a relatively slow start in the rapidly growing U.S. market for online betting.
Flutter Entertainment Plc’s FanDuel and DraftKings Inc. have captured the lion’s share of the online-gaming business. Other operators are already giving up, with Golden Nugget Online Gaming Inc. merging with DraftKings Inc. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. putting its online business up for sale.
Stifel analyst Jeffrey Stantial said that even if the Standard General deal doesn’t go through, it still draws attention to how much Bally’s shares have been undervalued.
“We expect this should drive some much-needed price discovery for a stock that has been overly punished, in our view, in the recent macro-driven selloff,” Stantial wrote in a research note Tuesday.
Bally’s didn’t respond to a request for comment. Shares of the Providence, Rhode Island-based company rose 25% at 11:46 a.m. in New York.
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