Affiliate group Better Collective reported a 26% year-on-year revenue rise to €75m in Q3 2023, with 16% of it being organic.
Recurring revenue hit €46m, signifying a 49% growth and now accounting for 61% of total group revenue.
Group EBITDA before special items stood at €20m, marking year-on-year growth of 35%.
The EBITDA margin before special items was 26%.
“In Q3 we saw continued strong performance across the group working towards sustainable future growth for Better Collective,” said co-founder and CEO Jesper Søgaard.
“I am especially pleased to see that the transition into recurring revenue with our North American partners is moving faster than expected, which will provide strong value in the long run,” he added.
However, investors were not fully convinced of Better Collective’s performance, leading to a nearly 13% drop in the stock during the early hours of trading.
New depositing customers (NDC) increased by 27% year-on-year to 445,000.
Of these NDCs, 87% subscribed to revenue share contracts.
Better Collective said the shift to revenue share contracts in North America has progressed faster than anticipated.
In the US, Better Collective saw approximately 65,000 NDCs during Q3, up 73% on Q3 2022.
Among these, 64% opted for revenue share agreements, totalling 42,000 NDCs, translating to a 159% growth.
Søgaard emphasised the group’s concerted effort toward transitioning partners to revenue share agreements in North America since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, aligning with the model used across the rest of the group’s operations worldwide.
“We favour revenue share as this model puts us in the same boat as our partnering sportsbooks, allowing us to develop more strategic and long-term partnerships. In short, we succeed when they succeed.”
Throughout the quarter, Better Collective continued its expansion strategy by acquiring national sports media across four markets.
The acquisition spree kicked off at the beginning of Q3 with the purchase of Playmaker HQ, a content and social media firm.
This move significantly bolstered Better Collective’s capabilities in social media and sports content production.
The group also purchased four prominent sports media brands from the Everysport Group in Sweden.
These brands – SvenskaFans.com, Hockeysverige.se, FotballDirect, and Innebandy Magazinet – were acquired for a total of €3.7m.
Additionally, Better Collective expanded its footprint in South America by acquiring Torcedores.com, a Brazilian sports media platform.
This move not only brought the first Brazilian sports media brand into the Better Collective fold but also included the acquisition of an office in Sao Paulo.
In Denmark, Better Collective acquired Tipsbladet.dk for €6.5m.
Better Collective maintained its full-year financial targets.
The company anticipates revenue between €315m and €325m for the year, with an EBITDA before special items in the range of €105m to €115m.
For October, the group reported a 6% revenue decline to €24.3m. The decrease was attributed to an estimated impact of €8m due to a lower-than-expected sports win margin.
However, in November, Better Collective marked a significant milestone with its second-largest acquisition to date, Playmaker Capital, a digital sports media group.
Better Collective described the €176m acquisition as “transformational,” propelling the company into a leading position in North America and further solidifying its presence in South America.
The company also revealed that Nasdaq Copenhagen has conditionally approved Better Collective’s admission to its regulated market.
The first day of trading is expected to be tomorrow (17 November), and the ticker symbol will be BETCO DKK.
More to follow.
Entain is seeking to boost its CEE business with the £750m purchase of Poland’s leading sports betting operator STS Holding.
The business, which is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, recorded 2022 revenue of £121m and adjusted EBITDA of £50m, ending last year with more than 783,000 active users.
Entain’s offer for 100% of the business will be priced at PLN 24.80 per share, valuing the equity value of STS at approximately £750m, and the enterprise value at approximately £690m.
The offer represents a 35% premium to the six-month average share price as of 12 June 2023. Around £450m will be offered in cash, while the remainder will come from a 10% stake in Entain CEE.
STS CEO Mateusz Juroszek and his father Zbigniew Juroszek, who through their family foundations hold approximately 70% of company shares, have entered into a binding agreement to irrevocably accept the offer.
The acceptance threshold has been set at 50% of shareholders, with a tender offer to be published in mid-July.
Mateusz will remain as CEO of STS and join the board of Entain CEE. He has been CEO since 2012.
Once the deal completes, both Juroszek foundations will re-invest a proportion of their proceeds into Entain CEE in return for a 10% stake.
Entain CEE is Entain’s venture in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) together with its partner EMMA
Capital (EMMA). Last year, the venture acquired Croatian market leader SuperSport.
Radim Haluza, CEO of Entain CEE, will continue to drive and oversee the continued success of both STS and SuperSport
Entain and EMMA will fund the offer in proportion to their current shareholding in Entain CEE, which stands at 75% and 25% respectively.
Entain will fund its proportion of the consideration via a separately announced equity placing and a separate retail offer through the PrimaryBid platform. There are more details on that below.
Equity placing and retail offer
The purchase will be funded via a £600m equity raise to be undertaken by Entain, through a non-pre-emptive placing of new ordinary shares in the business, made available to new and existing institutional investors in the company.
Concurrently with that placing, Entain will also make a separate offer of new ordinary shares to retail investors via capital markets technology platform PrimaryBid.
The retail share offer is available to existing shareholders only.
Entain commented that it “values its retail investor base and is therefore pleased to provide retail investors with the opportunity to participate in the PrimaryBid offer.”
After paying the roughly £450m net cash consideration related to its acquisition of STS, Entain said the remainder of its £600m equity raise would be used to fund further near-term acquisitions.
Entain said the deal provides an “exciting opportunity to acquire an attractive asset in a high-growth regulated market” within the CEE region.
Poland boasts the largest economy the CEE.
The country’s gambling market reported $1.6bn of GGR in 2022 as average gambling spend per adult increased at a CAGR of 24% over the last three years.
Through the transaction, Entain expects to generate £10m+ of run-rate synergies, including through the combination of two operational and tech platforms in the CEE region.
The London-listed operator said the purchase would be earnings accretive in its first full year of ownership.
Entain added there would be incremental potential upside if the Polish market fully liberalises online casino in the same way as online sports betting, with STS well positioned to capitalise.
What they said
Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Anderson said: “STS is an exceptional business with a great brand, a compelling omni-channel offering, and an outstanding CEO and management team.
“The transaction is perfectly aligned with our Entain CEE strategy and our wider M&A strategy of acquiring high-quality businesses with leading positions in attractive, growing and regulated markets.”
STS CEO Juroszek added: “I am very excited to be joining the board of Entain CEE, and see significant growth opportunities in the Polish market for STS under Entain’s ownership.
“Entain is a world class operator and has already made a significant investment in this region through SuperSport in Croatia.
“We could not have found a better partner to help us take STS into the next phase of its growth, and it is clear that Entain shares our ambition and vision for its future.”
London-based research firm Regulus Partners described the acquisition as a “high quality, low risk deal at a win-win price”.
“STS’s proven competence, the market’s fiscal-regulatory limitations, and a high rate of adoption probably make future performance pedestrian but value accretive without regulatory change,” added Regulus Partners analyst Paul Leyland.
“While not cheap, a fair price is being paid for a very strong market position which is hard to leverage outside Poland, but which a global operator can leverage through a combination of scale, portfolio risk management and regulatory optionality.”
Elsewhere, Peel Hunt analyst Ivor Jones said he expects Entain to eventually buy out the minority shareholders in the Entain CEE business.
“This acquisition is more than just another bolt-on: it adds to a string of smart, diversifying, deals
and bolsters our confidence that Entain can recycle its cash flow efficiently,” he wrote.
Entain has agreed to buy sports media business 365scores for $150m (£120m) with potential contingent payments of up to $10m (£8m).
365scores provides sports information, editorial and social content, as well as free-to-play games.
The company has a rapidly growing audience of over 15 million active users and is ranked in the top five sports score apps globally, according to 2022 rankings by Data.ai.
The 365scores platform collects personalised and relevant sports data from news sources in real-time, enabling sports fans to create their own sports channel and receive live news and notifications.
It supports 10 sporting categories in 20 languages and has around 80 employees.
According to information published on Pitchbook, 365scores was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Hong Kong.
Testing new formats
Entain stated the acquisition would provide its customers with a wider range of interactive content and experiences by combining 365scores’ expertise in data-driven sports media content with Entain’s global scale and leading platform capabilities.
“The acquisition unlocks further growth opportunities and supports our global strategic ambitions,” Entain said in statement.
When presenting the group’s 2022 results, CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen had confirmed that M&A would continue to be a key component of Entain’s growth strategy.
She had added that the company aims to “continue to test, learn and experiment with new formats”, including multiplayer free-to-play and live game shows, as well as partnering with leading household entertainment names.
Kambi has followed through on its promise to make acquisitions with the purchase of Danish front-end supplier Shape Games for an initial €38.5m.
The deal includes total performance-related earnouts of €39.6m, which could potentially bring the overall purchase price to €78.1m, all of which is to be paid in cash.
Copenhagen-based Shape Games is focused on improving customer engagement and retention for betting and gaming operators through its customisable front-end technology.
The company has worked with leading operators in regulated markets for a number of years now, including Denmark’s Danske Spil and Norway’s Norsk Tipping, as well as existing Kambi sportsbook clients BetWarrior and JACK Entertainment.
In 2021, Shape Games generated revenue of €7.6m and EBITDA of €2.8m, with 2022 forecast to deliver 100% year-on-year growth following several major partner wins.
Kambi – which is traditionally a back-end software supplier – said the front-end has become a key tool for operators to effectively differentiate their brand and localise their offerings.
The acquisition leans into Kambi’s strategic modularisation strategy, whereby operators can pick and choose parts of the sportsbook supply chain.
This is designed to diversify revenue streams and should make Kambi an attractive B2B partner for clients that are not seeking a full-suite sportsbook solution.
Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén: “Having worked closely with Shape Games and its experienced team over recent years, I have seen first-hand how their technology enables operators to extract the full value of the Kambi sportsbook.”
“Not only does Shape Games provide a best-in-class front-end, but its complementary customer engagement capabilities, which include personalisation, loyalty, statistics, and free-to-play games, provides the ability for operators to drive incremental growth and revenue,” Kambi said in a statement.
Despite joining the Kambi portfolio, Shape Games will continue to provide its services on a standalone basis to all operators.
However, a closer technical and commercial integration with Kambi will enable an enhanced service to be offered to Kambi’s current and future operator clients.
Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén said: “I’ve always been clear on our intention to acquire technology and talent that will complement and enhance our sportsbook proposition, and I have no doubt Shape Games will do just that.
“Having worked closely with Shape Games and its experienced team over recent years, I have seen first-hand how their technology enables operators to extract the full value of the Kambi sportsbook and provides the level of control operators require to deliver bespoke experiences to their players.
“While Shape Games will continue to grow and offer services on a standalone basis in line with our plans to offer a suite of modularised products, it is the ability to offer a combination of Kambi’s and Shape Games’ technology to our partners which really excites us and solidifies our position as the clear leader within the sports betting ecosystem.”
Shape Games was founded in 2018 by CEO Christian Risom, CPO Nicolas Linde and CTOs Ole Gammelgaard and Philip Bruce, all of whom will continue to lead the firm post-acquisition.
The company employs approximately 80 full-time staff, based in offices across Denmark, Spain, Latvia and the Isle of Man.
Better Collective generated €67.4m in revenue during Q1 2022, representing growth of 73.5% year-on-year.
Better Collective CEO Jesper Søgaard said: “2022 got off to a flying start with significant growth across business areas.
“Q1 showed very strong organic growth and a record quarterly revenue of €67m which was driven by a record intake of new depositing customers and an all-time high gross gaming on revenue share accounts.”
Revenue generated in US markets during the quarter skyrocketed compared to the prior-year period, up to €31.0m from just €5.8m in Q1 2021.
The Rest of World segment brought in the remaining €36.4m, or 54% of total group revenue.
US markets proved to be more profitable for Better Collective, however, with EBITDA from the region reaching €13.0m, compared to just €2.3m in Q1 2021.
This represented 56% of the group’s total EBITDA, as the Rest of World segment generated the remaining €10.1m, or 44% of the total. This represented a decline of 7.3% year-on-year in Rest of World EBITDA, as the EBITDA margin in those regions fell from 33% in Q1 2021 to 28%.
Margins were squeezed during the quarter as a result of low sports win margins following a combination of customer-favourable results, regulatory changes and the introduction of new offers from operators aiming to retain customers and win market share.
Astronomic growth in US markets has been bolstered by Better Collective’s acquired US-facing assets, including Action Network, VegasInsider and Scores&Odds, which has helped the firm establish a leading position within US sports betting media.
Events including the launch of New York’s online sports betting market, March Madness basketball and the Super Bowl all contributed to Better Collective’s US performance in Q1.
As Better Collective turns its eye to the future, Ontario’s legalised iGaming and online sports betting market is expected to generate a significant contribution for the business, aided by the firm’s recent €21.4m acquisition of Canada Sports Betting.
Better Collective said it expects Canadian activities to generate in excess of €5m in revenue during the full-year 2022.
Following the end of the quarter, the affiliate made its second largest acquisition to date with the purchase of esports media business Futbin, which focuses on the FIFA franchise, and its related domains.
Taking into account the acquisitions carried out this year, Better Collective has updated its earnings guidance for full-year 2022, which it now expects to be in the region of €85m. It had previously guided to revenue of around €75m.
“Acquiring Futbin and related assets just after the close of the quarter is a clear testament to Better Collective’s ambition of creating a platform that reaches esports audiences across the world,” commented Jesper Søgaard.
“We expect to see significant positive synergistic effects with Better Collective’s business going forward.”
The firm’s net profit after tax for the quarter totalled €13.7m, an increase of some 65% over Q1 2021’s €8.3m.
Following the end of the quarter, Better Collective said April revenue was in line with expectations, reaching €19m, some 45% ahead of the prior comparative period.
IGT has sealed an agreement to acquire iGaming content provider iSoftBet for approximately €160m in cash.
The purchase is expected to more than double IGT’s PlayDigital content library to around 225 proprietary casino games.
IGT will also gain access to iSoftBet’s in-house game aggregation platform, allowing it to distribute third-party titles.
For fiscal year 2021, iSoftBet generated revenue of approximately €30m and EBITDA of €8m, representing a 20x purchase price multiple.
The provider’s portfolio includes around 125 proprietary games and more than 4,600 third-party titles, while the company boasts 350 employees in locations including England, Malta and Romania.
Oakvale Capital served as lead adviser to IGT on the acquisition, which is expected to complete in Q2 2022 subject to closing conditions.
“The acquisition of iSoftBet will provide market-tested proprietary digital content, advanced game aggregation capabilities, scalable promotional tools, analytics and strong creative talent to IGT’s PlayDigital operations,” said IGT CEO Vince Sadusky.
“This will enhance PlayDigital’s competitive capabilities with a proven, complementary content portfolio across Europe and North America as we provide best-in-class games and technology to our fast-growing igaming customers,” he added