Soo Kim, the charismatic American billionaire leader of hedge fund Standard General, which owns 38 per cent of Bally’s, the casino and online gaming corporation, has made a hard-to-refuse US$2 billion offer (£1.48bn/€1.74bn) to buy-out remaining shareholders.
The ‘Big Squeeze’ would “allow the company’s stockholders to immediately realise an attractive value, in cash, for their investment and provides stockholders certainty of value for their shares — especially when viewed against the operational risks inherent in the company’s business and the market risks inherent in remaining a public company,” said Kim in a statement to his fellow shareowners.
His offer of US$38 a share represented a premium of 30 per cent, said Kim; while assuring shareholders that Standard would maintain its stake in the company even if they rejected the proposed deal.
Founded in 2004 as BLB Investors, and previously known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Bally’s has been on something of an acquisitions blitz since Kim’s Standard General took an ownership stake in the premium operator in 2016, with Korea-born Kim becoming Chair.
Under his leadership, the corporation, based in Providence, Rhode Island, bought the rights to the iconic Bally’s brand from Caesars Entertainment for US$20 million in November 2020 (£14.8m/€7.4m).
And—with 14 land casinos in 10 states, a racetrack in Colorado and online sportsbooks in 14 states—it is a fast-growing Omni-channel.
Last year alone Bally’s bought Monkey Knife Fight, the third largest daily fantasy sports operator in the US, behind DraftKings and FanDuel; the UK’s online Gamesys Group for US$2.7 billion (£2bn/€2.36bn) and betting platform provider Bet.Works for US$125 million (£92.4m/€109.2m).
As a former captain of his high school fencing team and alumnus of elite Princeton University, Kim has more than proved his skill in high-stakes financial gaming. Touché.