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Bally’s Corporation and XLMedia emerged as standout performers on the stock market in March as both soared on acquisition offers, while Sportradar’s shares rallied on the strength of an optimistic outlook and a share buyback initiative.

Bally’s Corporation

March’s stock market winner in the operator category was Bally’s Corporation.

Bally’s stock gained 24.02% last month, climbing from $11.24 on 29 February and closing at $13.94 on the last trading day of the month (28 March).

The stock shot up on 11 March after the business received an acquisition offer from Standard General, currently its largest shareholder.

The hedge fund, holding approximately 23% of Bally’s shares, offered to buy the entire company for $15 per share, causing a rise in Bally’s stock price. 

However, not everyone supports the offer. At the beginning of April, shareholder K&F Growth Capital criticised the bid as “woefully undervalued”. 

K&F argued that Bally’s shares were trading below their true value due to a loss of market confidence in the company’s strategy and financial stability, with a 28% decline in share price over the past year. 

The firm believes that accepting Standard General’s offer would deny shareholders the opportunity for greater returns and divert capital that could be invested in Bally’s casino resorts business. 

Instead, the investors proposed rejecting the offer, focusing on operational discipline to match rivals’ performance, selling non-core iGaming businesses to reduce debt, and improving access to capital.

XLMedia

Affiliate business XLMedia also experienced a substantial increase in its share price, rising by 79.86% in March after Gambling.com Group agreed to acquire its European and Canadian sports betting and gaming assets.

The offer triggered a notable spike in XLMedia’s share value on 21 March.

The deal, valued at up to $42.5m, includes assets such as Freebets.com and WhichBingo.co.uk.

XLMedia’s North American business, which contributed 55% of the group’s revenue in 2023, remained unaffected by the acquisition. 

The company said it wants to use the proceeds from the sale, which was completed at the beginning of April, to cover transition costs, settle tax provisions, and support its North American operations while returning cash to shareholders. 

The company’s strategic shift towards regulated sports and gaming markets, especially in North America, has been ongoing since 2020. 

However, the affiliate now intends to significantly up its investment in the rapidly expanding US market. 

It plans to expand its presence, strengthen audience connections and broaden revenue sources, aiming to establish a more consistent and dependable income stream.

Additionally, prioritising the development of its iGaming operations is on the agenda for the upcoming years. 

While the board had previously explored selling the entire business, the company’s depressed share price prompted a shift in strategy towards selling selected assets as the optimal approach to enhance shareholder value. 

Over the past 12 months, XLMedia’s share price experienced a decline of almost 16%.

Sportradar

In the supplier category, Sportradar claimed the title of the best-performing stock in March. 

The company witnessed an increase of 19.95% in its share price, rising from $9.72 on 29 February to $11.64 on 28 March.

This growth was largely spurred by Sportradar’s announcement of a $200m share buyback scheme, which caused its share price to soar by 17.2% during morning trading on 20 March.

On the day, Sportradar also announced its 2023 results, which exceeded its full-year guidance as revenue reached €877.6m, a 20% increase from the previous year. 

Q4 2023 also showcased impressive growth, with a 22% rise in revenue to €252.6m and a 33% increase in EBITDA to €39.5m.

This positive performance led to a Q4 profit of €23.2m, a significant turnaround from the €33.3m loss reported in the same period the previous year.

Looking ahead, Sportradar remained optimistic, reiterating its guidance of a 20% year-on-year increase in revenue and EBITDA in 2024. 

Bolstered by its confidence in the long-term outlook and its capacity to generate substantial excess capital, the company announced a $200m share buyback programme.

The news followed a recent restructuring initiative, which involves dividing the business into six divisions. 

Sportradar explained that this reorganisation aims to centralise key business functions, fostering improved collaboration and faster decision-making processes.

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