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Flutter Entertainment has acquired a majority stake in Serbian operator MaxBet for €141m.

The FTSE 100 operator has secured a 51% stake in MaxBet, which is Serbia’s number two omni-channel betting and gaming operator with an estimated 20% online market share.

Flutter is looking to expand and grow in the Balkans with this purchase and will have an opportunity to acquire the remaining 49% stake in 2029.

In the 12-month period to June 2023, MaxBet generated revenue of €145m, of which 44% came from online channels, alongside €32m in adjusted EBITDA.

Flutter said Serbia was an attractive regulated market, worth around €700m in 2022, with significant growth potential due to a relatively low online penetration of 35%.

MaxBet operates more than 400 retail outlets across four markets and attracts some 95,000 online average monthly players. It currently employs around 2,400 staff.

Flutter said it would provide the business with digital marketing expertise to enhance customer acquisition and retention, while the MaxBet sportsbook will be migrated to Flutter’s technology platform.

The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2024.

Flutter CEO Peter Jackson said the purchase should replicate the operator’s M&A successes in other markets, such as Georgia (Adjarabet), India (Junglee Games) and Italy (Sisal).

“This acquisition continues our progress against the strategic priorities we have set for our International division; to buy and build podium positions in regulated markets,” said Jackson.

“We see a compelling opportunity to combine extensive local expertise with the power of the Flutter Edge to accelerate and transform growth,” he added.

Flutter grew International division revenue by 74% and adjusted EBITDA by 103% in H1, driven by the acquisition of Sisal. Revenue and EBITDA both rose by 8% on a pro forma basis.

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