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Entain share price climbs 3% after appointing Eminence exec to Board

Sandler previously served as a Non-Executive Director of Ashland from January 2020 to January 2023.

Ricky Sandler entain

Entain has appointed Ricky Sandler as a Non-Executive Director with immediate effect. Sandler, the Founder, CEO and CIO of Eminence Capital LP, will join the Company's People & Governance and Capital Allocation committees. 

Entain Chairman Barry Gibson said: "I am pleased to welcome Ricky to the Board of Entain. Ricky has a deep knowledge of our business and a firm belief in the quality of our operations and substantial growth opportunities. We look forward to benefiting from his perspectives and expertise as we work to drive value for all Entain shareholders."

Sandler himself said: "Entain is a robust business with brands, a unique technology platform and enviable positions in key geographies around the world. I look forward to working with my fellow directors to help Entain achieve long-term success and create lasting value for its shareholders. 

However, under the UK Corporate Governance Code, Sandler will not be considered an independent Non-Executive Director. The Company, Eminence Capital and Sandler have established a relationship agreement, outlining governance, standstill and voting provisions.

Sandler's background includes founding Eminence Capital in 1999, which today manages a $6.5bn investment portfolio across global financial markets. As CEO and CIO of Eminence, he oversees strategic direction and manages the firm's investment team. 

Entain has recently faced financial scrutiny, including a share price decline and various other challenges, including a fine and recent controversial acquisitions. Its stock, though, is up 3% after this news

Eminence Capital holds approximately 2% of Entain's total outstanding shares, and openly criticised Entain's board in an open letter in 2023. The scathing rebuke was directed at Entain's proposed acquisition of STS Holdings, which Eminence labelled as 'destructive to shareholders.' The firm lambasted Entain's strategy of valuing STS at 12xEBITDA while issuing Entain stock at 7xEBITDA, resulting in a substantial decline in Entain's market value.

This follows a pattern in the industry, where hedge funds like HG Vora Capital Management are also looking to take action to enhance shareholder value. HG Vora, with an 18.5% economic interest in Penn Entertainment, pursued board seats at the company. This move was motivated by concerns over Penn's undervalued stock, leading to discussions with the company's management to address these issues.

Entain's recent social impact statistics illustrate its support for over 200 athletes across various sporting categories and grants to 100 non-league football clubs through its Pitching In program.

However, the company has recently faced financial scrutiny, including a share price decline and various other challenges, not least its £585m ($737.4m) fine far past dealings in Turkey. Its stock, though, is up 3% after this news.

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