Gambling Industry Acquisitions and Financial News — Weekly Round-up for January 05, 2018

Online Gambling Companies Start The New Year With A Bang

Blueprint Gaming and Better Collective announce acquisition deals

Getting 2018 off to a fast start are reports that Better Collective and Blueprint Gaming have both secured acquisition deals.

Online gambling games developer Blueprint’s acquisition of omni-channel gaming provider Games Warehouse from the Harbour Group is being hailed as a major boost for the UK developer’s operations.

Games Warehouse is based in Derby, England, where it develops innovative content for the global gambling market across online, mobile and retail channels.

Popular titles, including Wild Bandits, Birdz and Gold Strike, are already live across numerous websites and retail outlets of some of the leading operators.

Staff members will continue to operate out of its existing office, where both the i-gaming and Skill With Prize (SWP) machine teams will support Blueprint’s development plans, according to a statement from Blueprint Tuesday.

Matt Cole, managing director of Blueprint Gaming, said: “We are very pleased to welcome the Games Warehouse team to Blueprint Gaming. They will support our growth by continuing to develop creative games as well as back Blueprint’s development efforts.

“We are confident that the fit will work very well and we look forward to creating some innovative games together.”

Brandon Bezzant of Harbour Group added: “Games Warehouse first created the SWP market and more recently successfully evolved into a standalone games developer for online and mobile. We are sure that as a part of Blueprint Gaming and the Gauselmann Group, the team can go from strength to strength.”

The consideration on the acquisition has not been disclosed.

Bookmaker information and digital platform developer Better Collective has maintained its momentum into the new year with the acquisition of Polish affiliate marketing and information company Goal.pl Group – its eighth major deal in the past twelve months.

In a statement Tuesday announcing the agreement, Better Collective notes that the deal helps further Better Collective’s long term strategy of expanding its presence within regulated markets.

“Goal.pl was an attractive prospect thanks to its alignment with Better Collective’s core competencies relating to sports betting,” the announcement explains. “Founded in 2002, the Goal.pl Group consists of over 15 domains that attract over a million visitors per month thanks to its engaging approach to sports content.

Run by CEO, and sports journalist, Cezary Brzuzy, the Goal.pl group’s assets are all built around sports journalism and sports content. Its biggest site, goal.pl with domains including PrimeraDivision.pl and seriea.pl, has become one of Poland’s biggest and most trusted sources for European football news.

Another major site in the Goal.pl Group’s inventory includes wislakrakow.com, which is the biggest news site for fans of the top tier football team Wisła Krakow.

As part of the deal, Brzuzy will remain on board with his editorial team, while working in close co-operation with Better Collective’s office in Copenhagen.

Michal Kopec, head of M&A at Better Collective commented: “We see a lot of potential in the sports betting sector in Poland, and we are confident that with the 2018 World Cup around the corner, and new operators applying for Polish sport betting licences, we will be able to drive this business forward.

“Goal.pl Group’s previous owner has done a great job in developing their network, and we are keen to add our own expertise to bring the sites to the next level.”

Brzuzy added: “We have decided to sell our assets to Better Collective because we believe that together we will be able to further develop the websites belonging to Goal.pl Group.”

The consideration paid for the acquisition was not disclosed.

Majority Shareholder Moves To Take Over Eastern European Online Gambling Operator

Penta Investments subsidiary Fortbet set to buy up remaining shares in Fortuna Entertainment

Fortbet, the majority shareholder in Eastern European online and retail gambling group Fortuna Entertainment with a 79.8 stake in the company, is planning to acquire the remaining shares to ensure a takeover, and then delist the gambling group, according to a Reuters report Wednesday.

A subsidiary of Czech investment giant Penta Investments, Fortbet has revealed that it will offer the Czech equivalent of US$ 8.60 in cash per share, valuing Fortuna at around US$ 447.8 million.

The Fortuna board of directors has recommended the offer to shareholders after negotiating the consideration up from an original offer of CZK 170 a share to CZK 182.50 a share. The offer currently represents a premium of 54 percent on the share price.

Explaining its motivation for delisting Fortuna from the Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges, Fortbet said that this would obviate mandatory public disclosures which often left Fortuna at a disadvantage to its rivals.

Macau Revenue Continues Upward Trend In December

Annualised revenues rise for the first time in three years

Macau gambling revenues continued to increase in December 2017, for the first time in three years achieving annualised growth following central government crackdowns on ostentatious displays of wealth by public officials and corruption.

Revenues in December 2017 rose 15 percent y-o-y to to 22.7 billion patacas, slightly lower than analysts’ expectations for growth of 17-20 percent.

Figures from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination bureau released on January 1 2018 showed full year revenues rose 19 percent year-on-year in 2017 to 265.7 billion patacas ($33.13 billion), well within analysts’ predictions.

The Chinese gambling hub is now firmly on the recovery path from five-year low revenues reached in 2014. However, current revenue gains still lag the hey days before 2014 and in particular the peaks achieved in 2011. .

Analysts had expected 2017 full-year growth of 18-20 percent.