The year was monumental for M&A within the global iGaming industry. Several leading companies completed several billion-dollar deals, and many other major announcements have already been made.
We see that some of the biggest players recently are focusing on the US and other newly regulated markets expansion.
SBC CIS has made a list with 10 of the most important M&A deals that were the highlights of the passing year.
1. 888 and William Hill
In July one of the world’s leading betting and gaming companies 888 Holdings completed the £1.95 billion acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets from Caesars Entertainment.
888’s plan to acquire non-US assets of William Hill was known since September 2021. This happened shortly after Caesars acquired the entire business of William Hill for £3 billion. However, the company initially intended to get rid of all assets other than US ones.
2. Flutter and Tombola
The beginning of the year kicked off with significant news that online gaming giant Flutter had acquired bingo operator Tombola in an all-cash transaction worth £402m. Tombola is a well-established bingo-led operator which focuses on providing low-staking bingo games that engage some 400,000 monthly users.
Flutter asserts that its latest portfolio addition is set to deliver several “key strategic advantages,” with diversification of its products one such benefit previously pinpointed.
Furthermore, the operator group also highlighted that Tombola would also create a more engaged and sustainable player base, while enhancing Flutter’s safer gambling strategy.
3. Flutter and Sisal
Halfway into the year Flutter announced it had completed another €1.91 billion acquisition of Italian online gaming firm Sisal. The deal is said to align with the group’s strategy of investing to build leadership positions in regulated markets.
Sisal has run Italy’s national lottery, SuperEnalotto, since 1997, as well as running national lotteries in Morocco and Turkey. In addition, Sisal is Italy’s leading online gaming operator.
4. Entain and BetEnt
In June, Entain announced it had agreed to acquire BetEnt BV, the deal is reportedly worth €850m. In October Entain Plc successfully executed the pricing and allocation of a ‘New Term Loan‘ that will provide the gambling group $1bn in funds available to support its global growth initiatives.
Entain disclosed that it was allowed to upsize its original transaction from $750m to $1bn having gained strong demand from global credit investors. These financing directives allowed the group to use the new term loan to finalize its acquisition of BetEnt. A deal was expected to be completed during Q4.
5. Sportradar and Vaix
Sportradar has acquired Vaix, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions provider for the gambling industry. Sportradar and Vaix have been cooperating for the past two years, with the sports tech firm having integrated the latter’s solutions into its Managed Trading Services (MTS) product offered to operators as a trading, risk, live odds, and liability management solution.
Paolo Personeni, Managing Director of Managed Betting Services at Sportradar said: “The acquisition of Vaix is the culmination of a very important and productive partnership we have had with the company over two years.”
6. Gambling.com and BonusFinder
Gambling.com Group continues to expand its North American media portfolio, announcing that it has reached a binding agreement to acquire NDC Media, the publisher of BonusFinder.com.
Gambling.com has capped its acquisition offer at €60 million, dependent on the outcome of earnout incentives, in which the buyer holds the option to “pay up to 50% of each of the earnout payments in unregistered ordinary shares at its sole discretion”.
7. NeoGames and Aspire Global
NeoGames confirmed mid-June that it had completed a previously announced tender offer to acquire Aspire Global. The deal is reportedly worth €850m. In addition, Aspire Global has applied for the delisting of its shares from the Nasdaq First North Premier, following NeoGames’s request.
Aspire’s Board moved ahead with the delisting to facilitate NeoGames’ full takeover, having been unanimously supportive of the proposed merger since the bid was announced.
8. Evolution and NoLimit City
Evolution has also completed an important slot developer Nolimit City acquisition in a deal worth up to €340m. In June, Evolution announced that it had reached an agreement to purchase Nolimit for an initial €200m, with a further €140m dependent on future performance in 2023, 2024, and 2025.
9. MGM Resorts and LeoVegas
In September, MGM Resorts International announced its offer to buy LeoVegas for SEK 61 ($5.65) per share. The per-share price is equivalent to a total tender value of approximately $604m.
“We are excited to begin working with LeoVegas to grow our global digital gaming business and maximize the full potential of our omnichannel strategy,” said Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and President of MGM Resorts.
10. Endeavour and OpenBet
Sports entertainment company Endeavor Group completed the acquisition of OpenBet in October. Endeavor acquired Openbet, a provider of content, platforms, and services to the sports betting industry, for $800 million.
“Our focus remains on providing our customers with the most innovative solutions to give their fans the ultimate sports betting complement to live sports,” said OpenBet CEO Jordan Levin.
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