Entain extends deadline for US giant DraftKings takeover bid by a month

Entain has extended what it described as the "put up or shut up" deadline for leading US gambling operator DraftKings to make a formal bid for the company by a further month.

In September the owner of Ladbrokes and Coral said it would "carefully consider" a $22.4 billion (approx £16.4bn) takeover approach from DraftKings, having already rejected a lower offer.

Under City rules DraftKings had until 5pm on Tuesday to announce whether it intended to make an offer for Entain but that has now been extended until November 16.

A statement from the company, which it said was "made without the consent of DraftKings", said the Entain board had "carefully considered" DraftKings' proposal, along with feedback from shareholders.

It added: "The board has been in discussions with DraftKings in order to explore the merits and feasibility of a potential transaction reserving its position on the appropriateness of the value of the proposal.

Entain said its board would require a number of matters to be resolved "that are fundamental to the structure and value of the proposal", including issues surrounding BetMGM, Entain's joint venture with casino group MGM Resorts International in the US.

MGM, which had an $11bn bid for Entain rejected earlier this year, has warned that any deal involving DraftKings would require its consent.

Entain said discussions with DraftKings "remain ongoing" and a further extension past the November 16 deadline could take place, with the consent of the Takeover Panel.

However, Entain also said it "strongly believes" in the company's future prospects, adding: "As a result the board is confident in Entain’s ability to continue to deliver material value for its shareholders going forward."

Responding to the announcement, DraftKings said it would "continue to engage in discussions between both companies and to conduct more substantive due diligence and analysis regarding its possible offer". 

DraftKings said potential benefits from the deal could include expansion into regulated and regulating markets, accelerated product growth and innovation.

However, the company added: "DraftKings further notes that while it progresses its discussions with Entain, it also continues to remain very focused on opportunities in the high-growth North America market."

Entain's share price ended the day up more than two per cent at 2,171p.