The British sports betting and gambling company Entain plc, which owns the popular bookmaker brand Ladbrokes Coral, has reached an agreement to purchase Swedish online gambling and sports betting firm Enlabs at the price of £250 million. The deal comes at a time when there has been an increased movement towards further consolidation across the gambling sector.
On January 7th, the group, which owns a range of brands operating in the sector, including Bwin and Partypoker, revealed that it had made an all-cash bid for Enlabs’ assets. The SKr40 per share offer valued Enlabs at about £250 million.
Entain, which was previously known as GVC Holdings, has approached Enlabs with a takeover offer only a few days after revealing its decision to reject a proposed $11-billion acquisition bid that the US casino giant MGM Resorts International had made. As Casino Guardian previously reported, Entain said it had rebuffed the takeover offer as it considerably undervalued the company.
Experts have described the Enlabs deal as the first concrete step that Shay Segev, the new chief executive officer (CEO) of Entain , made as part of the policy to expand the UK gambling group’s reach into locally-regulated markets. Enlabs, a Sweden-listed company with headquarters in Latvia, was established in 2005 and is currently a market leader in the sports betting and online gambling sectors in Latvia. Furthermore, it is also one of the five biggest gambling operators in Estonia and Lithuania, which are both considered to be quickly-expanding gambling markets.
Takeover of Enlabs to Boost Entain’s Presence into New Regulated Markets
At the time it announced the takeover deal, Entain also shared that it expected the Enlabs acquisition to end up with gradual growth in earnings during the first full year of ownership. It further revealed expectations that the Swedish gambling operator generates revenues of about £80 million this year.
Entain’s boss Mr Segev said that purchasing Enlabs was a perfect match to the UK gambling group’s expansion strategy seeking to boost its presence and footprint into new regulated markets. He also described the Swedish company as an already strong and quickly-growing business and shared that the acquisition is not only set to boost Entain’s assets but help it reach new markets and customers.
As mentioned above, the Enlabs takeover offer comes at a time when dealmaking across the industry has intensified as an increasing number of gambling companies want to strengthen their positions, especially when it comes to new markets.
Most operators that have been looking for an expansion have chosen the US as a main expansion target because of the recent surge in sports betting popularity after the federal ban on this type of gambling was lifted in May 2018. And things are getting even more interesting, as US gambling companies are looking forward to taking over some European companies on their turn, as they want a more diversified service range, along with a better presence in the sports betting and online gambling sectors.