While many gambling industry giants are following the gold rush taking place in North America right now, Entain have focused their attention a little closer to home.
The Isle of Man based firm, who boast PartyCasino, PartyPoker and Ladbrokes in their stable of brands, have splashed the cash to acquire one of Croatia’s largest iGaming operations.
The SuperSport Group operate the SuperSport betting site and SuperCasino in their home country and across the Balkan region and Eastern Europe, and their success has caught the eye of scouts at Entain.
And so the British firm has put together a £600 million package to buy out the Croatian outfit, and will welcome their brands into the Entain fold.
It is thought they will take a 75% stake in the group, with the deal brokered as part of a new partnership known as Entain CEE – a new Central and European investment division headed by the Czech firm EMMA Capital.
Entain will pay EMMA a little over £500 million to secure their controlling stake in the SuperSport Group, with around £70 million in add-ons a possibility in 2023 depending on the performance of the Croatian outfit.
EMMA, incidentally, is a division of the SAZKA Group, the company renamed as Allwyn as part of their successful bid to win the UK National Lottery operator’s licence earlier this year. They acquired a 67% controlling stake in SuperSport back in 2018.
The takeover, which is rumoured to have been funded by a £550 million bridging loan supplied by financial institutions including NatWest and Santander, is Entain’s sixth of a hectic year so far.
Those include the acquisition of the Dutch iGaming operator BetCity for a reported £700 million, as well as further dips into the European market with the purchase of Polish firm Totolotek and the Latvian platform Klondaika.
Share and Share Alike
It follows news that Entain enjoyed a 19% increase on their half-year take homes compared to 2021, and that they planned to reward shareholders with a £100 million payday.
However, there were some causes for concern as the rise was largely thanks to a renaissance for the firm’s retail betting shops – with online betting and gaming actually retracting in the second quarter of the year.
Mind you, Entain’s chiefs don’t appear to be too concerned, and they reckon they will be back into a growth phase online later in 2022.
“In Q2, we also saw our increasingly recreational customer base responding to the changing macro environment and inflationary fears by moderating spend per head across the UK and parts of Europe,” a company statement read.
“We expect to get back to growth in online in the second half of the year.”
Entain’s fortunes have been bolstered by the performance of BetMGM, the joint venture launched with MGM Resorts back in 2018. That brand saw gaming revenue rise by almost 66% in the first half of 2022 compared to last year, with their entry into four new US states – where gambling has been legalised – helping to enhance their efforts.