Stocks Tracker Part Two: Significant falls in 2023 for some as layoffs and asset sales hinder growth

EGR analyses the share price declines of major industry players over the last year including Entain, Bally’s and Catena Media  

Entain 

4 January 2023 closing: 1,379p

4 January 2024 closing: 967.6p

Peak price: 1,587.5p (3 February 2023)

The continuation of regulatory change in several markets for Entain proved a hurdle in 2023 as the London-listed heavyweight saw its share price over the course of the year tumble by almost 30%.

The year did get off to a busy start, however, for Entain as it continued to flex its M&A muscles when in early 2023 with the completed acquisition of Dutch-licensed BetCity for an upfront cost €300m and the announcement of the deal to purchase scores app 365scores for up to $160m. It resulted in Entain’s share price reaching its highest level of the year at 1,587p in February. 

However, one of the firm’s M&A moves caused a furore. A deal for Polish bookmaker STS Gaming Group in May for £750m brought discontent from shareholders, with Eminence Capital calling the deal “perplexing” in a damning open letter published in June 2023. 

It wasn’t just on the M&A front though that trouble was brewing for Entain, as significant settlements and fines caused further ire for investors. The newly acquired BetCity brand was hit with a €3m fine by the Netherlands Gambling Authority in November for anti-money laundering and terrorist financing failures.

Also, Entain agreed to repay profits totalling £585m (as well a charitable donation of £20m and £10m in costs) as part of a deferred prosecution agreement over an HMRC probe into the Turkish business it sold in 2017.

All of these factors, plus the tanking share price, led to CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen stepping down from her role in mid-December after two years at the helm.

In the five days after Nygaard-Andersen departed, Entain’s share price jumped by more than 20% from 846.6p at close on 13 December to a peak of 1,018p on 20 December, before trailing off into the new year.

Bally’s 

4 January 2023 closing: $19.96

4 January 2024 closing: $12.35

Peak price: $21.38 (12 January 2023)

There was major change at Bally’s in 2023 as CEO Lee Fenton made the move for the exit door in March after 18 months at the helm, with Bally’s Interactive president Robeson Reeves stepping into his shoes. 

The biggest dips in the share price occurred at the end of May and in late November. 

The first fall, which saw the share price tumble to $13.29 on 25 May, coincided with the US operator hitting the reset button on its sportsbook and the closure of its Bally Bet app ahead of the transition to a Kambi-powered app.

In Q2, Bally’s Interactive saw revenue growth of 39% and 6% for both its US and International divisions respectively, which gave the share price a shot in the arm, peaking at $16.60 at the end of August, thanks also in part to the rollout of the White Hat Gaming-powered PAM in Ohio on the same day. 

However, there was a more significant dip in late October, which continued to worsen in November when Reeves confirmed that the firm would reduce its headcount by 300 after outsourcing its sports betting tech to Kambi and White Hat Gaming.

This led to the stock hitting its lowest level of the year, $7.77, on 1 November. Following that, Bally’s share price has rebounded and hit $15 before the turn of the year but has since dipped slightly again.

Catena Media

4 January 2023 closing: SEK19.7

4 January 2024 closing: SEK10.97

Peak price: SEK37.54 (16 February 2023)

The year kicked off well for Catena Media, which had its “strongest ever” state launch in Ohio in January. The firm’s share price enjoyed major spikes in the opening couple of months of the 2023, achieving its highest level of the year on 16 February at SEK37.54.

The Malta-based affiliate posted impressive increases in its Q4 2022 revenue as US growth led to group revenue rising by 15%.

Later in the year, Catena Media offloaded its UK and Australian assets to Moneta Communications for €6m as the firm continued to focus on the US market.

However, this focus was dismissed as the reason why adjusted EBITDA fell by 60% in Q2 2023 and revenue plummeted 28% in Q3 2023. 

At the same time of the Q3 report, Catena announced that it had sold its Italian business, with Oddschecker confirmed as one of the buyers of its SuperScommesse brand. The announcements sparked a slump in the stock to SEK 12.17 on 22 November. 

These declines also led to question marks around the sale of the AskGamblers brand to GiG at the end of 2022. CEO Michael Daly defended decision, suggesting that GiG had adopted a different strategy to Catena Media.

The affiliate’s share price continued to slide as 2023 came to a close, with a calendar-year low of SEK10.59 on 18 December. 

 

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