ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Two Las Vegas firms hoping to join forces and become a leader in the as-yet unapproved U.S. sports betting market are trying to outmaneuver a British rival as they scramble for position in what will likely be a multi-billion dollar market.
Scientific Games has begun buying stock in NYX Gaming, which it agreed to acquire in September.
However, British-based William Hill, which also owns stock in NYX, is threatening to block the deal, and wants to impose restrictions on what the newly merged company could do.
On Tuesday, Scientific Games said it will begin a takeover bid for NYX should William Hill succeed in blocking the sale.
"This reaffirms the companies' commitment to move forward together," NYX said in a statement.
The takeover would involve Scientific Games acquiring more than 50 percent of NYX's outstanding stock. That process has already begun; Scientific Games said Tuesday it bought 11.6 million shares of NYX for about $21.2 million, representing nearly 11 percent of the company's stock.
William Hill currently owns enough NYX stock to block the company's sale to Scientific Games. A spokesman for William Hill did not respond to a request for comment. But earlier this month, the company said its demands regarding what a merged NYX and Scientific could do or not do are "perfectly reasonable" measures to protect its shareholders.
The companies anticipate the U.S. Supreme Court will legalize sports betting, creating a huge new market in the U.S. The court will hear New Jersey's case on Dec. 4; a ruling could be weeks or months away.
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