Gambling Industry Acquisitions and Financial News — Weekly Round-up for April 06, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Apr 6, 2018

GVC Holdings Finalises Ladbrokes-Coral Takeover

Creates “one of the world’s largest listed sports betting companies”

GVC Holdings plc has announced that it has completed its acquisition of online gaming giant Ladbrokes Coral Group plc, transforming itself into one of the world’s largest gaming groups with a headcount of 28,000 people.

‘The formally online gambling group now enters the retail betting market as the biggest high street bookmaker in the United Kingdom with 3,500 shops operating under the Ladbrokes and Coral brand names, and a large retail and digital presence internationally across nations like Italy, Ireland, Spain, Belgium and Australia.

GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander said in a statement Thursday:

“The creation of one of the world’s largest listed sports betting companies, combining a portfolio of established brands, proven technology and leading market positions in multiple geographies, is a truly exciting prospect.

“In a dynamically evolving industry, the transaction creates an enlarged Group with the scale, diversity, proprietary technology and management expertise to pursue many opportunities globally. GVC has a proven track record of creating shareholder value through the successful integration of acquired businesses and the GVC Board believe this transaction will create further value for our shareholders and those of Ladbrokes Coral.”

The consideration for the acquisition will range from around GBP 3.2 billion to GBP 4 billion due to a provision that takes into account the possible repercussions of a drastic reduction in UK Fixed Odds Betting Terminals income, which may be impacted by future government legislation (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Netent Delivers Another Year Of Double Digit Revenue Growth

Despite a tough fourth quarter

NetEnt has published its 2017 year-end report in which the company delivered another year of double digit growth, albeit slower than previous years, in revenue despite a tough fourth quarter following the withdrawal from several markets.

Key performance highlights include:

Revenues reached SEK 1,625 million (2016: SEK 1,455 million), up 11.7 percent.

Operating profit increased 9.5 percent to reach SEK 587 million (2016: SEK 536 million).

Operating margin was 36.1 percent (2016: 36.8 percent).

Profit after tax was SEK 552 million (2016: 504 million).

Earnings per share were SEK 2.30 (2016: SEK 2.10).

NetEnt will focus on geographical expansion throughout 2018 particularly in European regulated markets, followed by North America and Asia.

A “large” pipeline of new games, growing revenues from regulated markets, mobile games and new customers place NetEnt for further growth, the company said.

Digital The Bright Spot In Latest Rank Group Results

Gambling group issues profit warning as high rollers score and cold weather keeps punters at home

Digital operations were the stars of the latest Rank Group results report, covering the 40 week period to April 1 this year, with UK digital revenue growth up 17 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

The group’s land-based operations did not fare as well; like-for-like revenue for Rank’s Mecca venues dropped by two percent, with like-for-like revenue for its Grosvenor venues dropping nine percent as cold weather kept the punters at home, and high rollers scored significant wins.

“The board is cautious about the UK consumer outlook and, as a result, expects the group’s UK venues to continue to be impacted for the remainder of the 2017/18 financial year and into 2018/19. As highlighted in Rank’s recent interim results statement, a number of key operational actions have been identified and are being put into place to improve Grosvenor’s performance over the medium to long term,” management reported.

“Taking all the above into consideration, management now expect the group’s full year operating profit to be in the range of GBP 76 million – GBP 78 million.”

A year ago Rank reported a pre-tax profit of GBP 85.5 million.

The warning comes just a few weeks after chief executive Henry Birch said he was stepping down to join Shop Direct (see previous InfoPowa report).

In the early morning trading Thursday, the company’s shares slumped 15 percent to 182.8p.

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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