Entain Appoints Hedge Fund Boss Ricky Sandler To Board

January 4, 2024
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Entain has added an activist investor and critic to its board of directors.
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Entain has added an activist investor and critic to its board of directors.

Ricky Sandler, chief executive of Eminence Capital, was named a non-executive director on Wednesday (January 3) with immediate effect, the London-listed company said.

The US hedge fund owns between 4 percent and 5 percent of the gambling company, whose brands include Ladbrokes, Coral and Sportingbet.

The move follows the December resignation of CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen following criticism of the company’s share price lagging competitors amid a series of under-performing acquisitions.

The company also announced recently that it had settled an HM Revenue & Customs investigation into its former Turkish business for about £600m ($760m), an episode dating to previous management.

Sandler has been among those critical of the company’s string of acquisitions.

“While we can support the company pursuing seemingly rational acquisitions, funding them with highly undervalued equity is an empire-building, shareholder-value-destroying strategy,” he wrote last June.

"Entain is a robust business with market-leading brands, a unique technology platform, and enviable positions in key geographies around the world,” Sandler said in a statement on Wednesday.

Sandler’s appointment was predicted in December by the Sunday Times.

Entain was also criticised by investment funds for rebuffing takeover approaches from MGM Resorts International and DraftKings.

Other activist funds owning shares in Entain include Corvex, Dendur Capital and Sachem Head Capital Management.

Entain board member Stella David is running the company on an interim basis until a new CEO is named.

Separately, Nicholas Batram, a former securities analyst, has confirmed that he left his role as Entain’s head of mergers and acquisitions in December to become an independent consultant. He was also director of corporate development.

Batram’s departure was confirmed on his LinkedIn profile.

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