Entain’s Chairman Barry Gibson and CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen have both significantly increased their shareholdings in the gambling giant, and other directors are also upping their holdings.
Gibson purchased 93,664 shares in Entain, bringing his total holding to 123,500 shares, up from 29,836. Meanwhile, his spouse, Brenda Gibson, increased her holding from 41,902 to 57,434 shares by purchasing 15,522 shares. Nygaard-Andersen now has 65,381 shares, having bought an additional 35,000 shares to add to her existing holding of 30,831.
Senior independent non-executive director Stella David also secured an additional 95,025 shares, bringing her total holding to 112,186. In addition, non-executive director Rahul Welde increased his holding to 21,644 shares after purchasing an additional 21,644.
The directors of Entain now hold a total of 665,682 shares, equivalent to 0.104% of the total issued share capital in the group.
Following the news of the increased shareholdings, the company’s share price rebounded by close to 3%. However, Entain is facing significant headwinds, with a slowdown in online net gaming revenue growth in the third quarter and adverse sports results impacting sports margins.
To address these challenges, CEO Nygaard-Andersen outlined an operational efficiency and cost reduction drive called Project Romer. The project aims to achieve an online EBITDA margin of 28% by 2026 and 30% by 2028. The company is targeting a reduction of £100m in costs by 2025.
Despite the challenges, Nygaard-Andersen remains upbeat about Entain’s prospects for continued growth, emphasizing a clear plan to focus on portfolio growth, market share in the US, and increased EBITDA margins.
Entain is also expected to conclude deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) negotiations with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for its historic activities in Turkey in the fourth quarter, with a potential £585m settlement over a four-year period. The company will also undergo a judicial review, but the chair, Gibson, stresses that these issues occurred under previous management and that the current business model and culture have entirely changed. He emphasized that the current Entain is not the same as the GVC of the past.