SHARE OF THE WEEK: Hopes of Grand National boost for Entain as first quarter trading update looms

It is the day the nation goes to the bookies.

And a fair bit of the money bet on the Grand National will be by punters at Ladbrokes and Coral.

‘It is without doubt the busiest day of the year for bookies,’ says Nicola McGeady, of Ladbrokes.

So there will be much interest when Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain publishes its first quarter trading update on Wednesday.

Whether it was a good or bad week at Aintree will depend largely on the outcome of today’s big race.

But there is far more at stake for Entain and its shareholders.

The recent announcement that chairman Barry Gibson is stepping down has sparked speculation that the betting giant is very much a takeover target, with private equity group Apollo among those said to be interested.

Gibson blocked previous takeover attempts by MGM and DraftKings but his retirement has put Entain very much back in play.

And it comes as the company searches for a chief executive following the departure of Jette Nygaard-Andersen in December after less than two years in the job.

‘It’s been a tough start to the year for Entain shareholders and expectations for the Ladbrokes owner seem about as low as they can get,’ said Matt Britzman, an analyst Hargreaves Lansdown.