Entain agrees new media rights and distribution deal with TAB NZ

Finance News

As a statutory entity and the sole holder of a betting licence in New Zealand, TAB NZ is committed to materially boosting the fortunes of racing and sport, delivering a world-class customer experience and enhancing its responsible gambling and harm minimisation efforts.

For some time, TAB NZ has faced increasing competition, rising costs, capital constraints as well as other challenges, which have impacted its ability to deliver adequate funding to racing and sports. These challenges are expected to increase.  

In order to achieve TAB NZ’s objectives and growth ambitions, Board and management considered that it was in the best interest of TAB NZ and its stakeholders to explore a strategic partnering arrangement with a world-class international wagering operator to deliver TAB NZ’s wagering and broadcast functions.

Over the past six months, TAB NZ has engaged with a range of world-class operators in relation to a strategic partnering arrangement and received several compelling proposals. It has been supported through the process out of Australia by Barrenjoey Capital Partners as sole financial adviser, Allens as principal legal advisers. Chapman Tripp provided legal advice in New Zealand.

Following a detailed assessment of a number of proposals which were received, TAB NZ has today announced that it has selected Entain as its preferred partner for a 25-year strategic partnering arrangement.

The proposed strategic arrangement remains subject to Ministerial approval. The specific terms of the arrangement remain commercially confidential until approval is granted.

Entain was selected as the preferred partner based on a wide range of criteria, including operational expertise, cultural alignment with TAB NZ and the commitment of the partner to uplifting TAB NZ’s harm minimisation and responsible gambling efforts.

TAB NZ Chief Executive Officer Mike Tod said today’s announcement signals an important step in boosting the fortunes of racing, sport and communities for a generation.

“TAB NZ faced an uncertain future in a David and Goliath battle with international wagering operators and a lack of capital to both compete and meet its potential. Today’s announcement is a significant milestone toward the transformation of TAB NZ and those who rely upon its growth and long-term success. In the absence of a strategic partnering arrangement, TAB NZ would be further cutting distributions in the next financial year,” Mr Tod said.

“This proposed strategic arrangement with Entain provides a certain, material and immediate uplift in the funding TAB NZ can provide New Zealand racing and sports ensuring that these industries not only survive, but thrive. It will allow us to greatly improve our harm minimisation and responsible gambling efforts, and provides immediate job security and long-term job creation in New Zealand to the advancement of our nation at large.

“Entain is a global and world-class operator who will deliver industry best practice and an elevated and safe experience for New Zealand punters, as well as racing and sports fans. We are deeply excited by their commitment to New Zealand and this opportunity.”

TAB NZ Chairman Mark Stewart said the Board is unanimously supportive of the proposed strategic partnering arrangement.  

“Management and the Board ran a world-class and robust process that attracted the interest of some of the best wagering operators in the world and have delivered a result that will benefit all our stakeholders for a generation. It’s a credit to our Chief Executive Officer and his team for the result they have delivered and to our stakeholders in Racing and Sport for the way in which they have supported this process,” Mr Stewart said.

Entain’s Chief Executive Officer – Australia, Dean Shannon, said the company was excited to be selected by TAB NZ as its preferred partner.

“This is a unique opportunity to shape the future wagering experience for customers and to support New Zealand’s racing and sporting industries. We have a compelling vision for the future of TAB NZ, which includes a renewed focus on innovation and technology, and a long-term commitment to all racing, sport and industry stakeholders,” Mr Shannon said.

“As the partner of choice for New Zealand, we have made a firm commitment to employment continuity for at least 24 months, with the team at TAB NZ essential to our future vision and growth of the market in New Zealand. We applaud TAB NZ for how the process has been run to date and we look forward to working with all stakeholders on necessary approvals to finalise the transaction.”