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GVC Holdings makes £3.9b play for Ladbrokes Coral Group

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GVC Holdings makes £3.9b play for Ladbrokes Coral Group
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UK-listed online gambling operator GVC Holdings is making another run at acquiring rival Ladbrokes Coral Group.

 

On Thursday, GVC Holdings announced that its board of directors and their counterparts at Lads Coral were engaged in “detailed discussions regarding the possible combination of the two businesses” after GVC submitted its latest proposal to acquire Lads Coral’s entire share capital.

GVC’s offer, the total value of which could top out at £3.9b, offers Lads Coral shareholders 32.7p in cash and 0.141 ordinary GVC shares for each Lads Coral share.

A further value of up to 42.8p would be structured as a contingent value right (CVR) dependent on how severe the UK government plans to restrict the use of fixed-odds betting terminals in Lads Coral betting shops.

Assuming all proceeds as planned, GVC anticipates that its shareholders would end up holding 53.5% of the enlarged entity, with Lads Coral shareholders holding the rest. The parties have agreed that GVC CEO Kenny Alexander would head up the enlarged group, with the rest of senior management roles to be decided over the next few weeks.

Lads Coral investors hailed the news, as the company’s shares were up nearly one-third to 178p at time of writing. GVC’s shares are up a more modest 6.6% to 966p. UK takeover rules require GVC to announce by January 4 whether it plans to make a firm offer for Lads Coral.

This is GVC’s latest attempt at a Lads Coral takeover, with the most recent effort having fallen apart in August, reportedly due to concerns over GVC’s exposure to grey- and black-markets, including Turkey. GVC eliminated that obstacle last month via the sale of its Turkish-facing business.

GVC said the addition of Lads Coral’s operations would boost its share of revenue from regulated online markets to nearly 90%, which would eliminate much of the uncertainty surrounding the company’s future in some of these regulatory iffy markets (although GVC’s flagship betting brand Bwin is particularly reliant on its operations in legally sketchy Germany).

A union of this magnitude would necessitate significant staff reductions, or ‘synergies’ as they’re known to the people not headed for the exits with the photos of their loved ones in a banker’s box. Staffers at both companies are likely reducing their Christmas shopping budgets as we speak.

GVC has a good track record with mega-deals, having successfully turned around the underperforming Bwin.party digital entertainment brands after acquiring the group a couple years ago. But that deal involved only online gambling companies, while Lads Coral has a significant retail presence, an area in which GVC has little experience.

It also remains to be seen what a GVC-Lads Coral union would mean for gambling tech provider Playtech, which has years left on its deal to power Lads Coral’s online and retail gaming ops. Playtech shares are currently down 3% on the day.

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Gaming Innovation Group – Mandatory notification of trade

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Gaming Innovation Group – Minutes from Annual Meeting of Shareholders
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Mikael Riese Harstad, Chairman of the Board and primary insider of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.

(GiG), has today transferred 864,403 shares in GiG to a life insurance policy with SEB Life International Assurance Company DAC with himself as the sole policy holder.

In addition, Helena Riese Harstad, a close associate of Mikael Riese Harstad, has today transferred 477,733 shares in GiG to a life insurance policy with SEB Life International Assurance Company DAC with herself as the sole policy holder.

After these transactions, Harstad and close associates owns no shares directly, but hold 1,342,136 shares through life insurance policies with SEB Life International Assurance Company DAC.

For further information, contact:
Tore Formo, Group CFO, [email protected] +47 916 68 678

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to Section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

 

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Clarion Gaming and ExCeL London plan for the migration of iGB L!VE 2025 to the heart of igaming

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Clarion Gaming is advancing preparations for the migration of iGB L!VE to London in July 2025 establishing a roadmap of activities in partnership with the senior team at ExCeL London which will host the leading global event.

The latest meeting between the two organisations featured:

  • iGB L!VE Portfolio Director Naomi Barton,
  • Clarion Gaming Managing Director Stuart Hunter,
  • Head of Operations Richard Logan and
  • Head of Marketing Jody Frost with the senior team from ExCeL led by the venue’s
  • Chief Commercial Officer Simon Mills.

Expanding on the meeting Naomi Barton said: “This was the second senior level planning meeting that we have held with our colleagues at ExCeL London in order to move the home of the igaming community to a city which is the heart of the igaming industry in a country which is igaming’s largest market.

“The roadmap is being created in order to anticipate industry needs, address pain points and to exceed the expectations of customers. The migration of what is already a top performing Tier One igaming event is set against the backdrop of iGB L!VE’s 5-year growth plan which is focused on delivering 35,000 visitors and over 550 exhibitors and sponsors by 2029.

“Our vision is to harness the tremendous momentum created by the iGB L!VE brand and to take the event to a whole new level in a new venue, and a new exceptionally well-connected global home in the city of London.

“ExCeL London has a fantastic track record of helping events to fulfil their potential, and all of the building blocks are in place for iGB L!VE and its customers to accelerate their businesses to new heights in London.

She added: “Placing our customers at the heart of everything that we do is central plank to the iGB L!VE growth strategy, and the roadmap for 2025 is underpinned by a clear customer-focused programme that will ensure maximum cost-effectiveness as well as global growth for all of our stakeholders.

“We will be using July’s edition of iGB L!VE not only to reflect and celebrate our time in Amsterdam and say thank you to our fantastic partners for many years RAI Amsterdam, but also enable our vendors and customers to secure their presence at ExCeL London in 2025.”

 

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Paf’s results for 2023

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The Nordic gaming company Paf’s annual report for 2023 shows that it has been a good year which means a good sum of Paf funds for society. Paf’s published customer segments show more sustainable revenue in the past year. The Paf board gets a new member.

The Paf Group’s revenue for 2023 increased from €165.7 million to €177.1 million, an increase of 7%. The growth in revenue results in an increase in profit from €44.8 million to €55.1 million, which is a record for Paf.

“We can be happy and proud with the past year. We have gained a larger customer base and the number of active customers has increased by 27%, which explains some of it, but we are also well aware that the temporarily low gaming taxes in Finland have helped the result,” says Christer Fahlstedt, CEO.

Paf’s result is the best result in Paf’s 57-year history and an increase of 23% compared to the previous year. However, gaming taxes in a number of countries will be increased in 2024, which will create different conditions going forward. In Finland, the temporary reduction of the lottery tax has increased from 5% to 12%, in Sweden the gambling tax will increase from 18% to 22%, in Estonia from 5% to 6% and in Latvia from 10% to 12%.

“The trend of increasing gaming taxes will continue, and we expect to see more much-needed demands for increased responsible gaming measures. The changes will result in reduced profitability and many operators will find it more difficult. But Paf is well prepared for the times ahead,” says Christer Fahlstedt.

31.4 million euros in Paf funds
The annual distribution of Paf funds will be €31.4 million. Paf funds are used for the benefit of society, including a number of third sector organisations that work to promote society in social activities, culture, youth work, sports, environmental activities and more.

“It’s undeniably great that Paf is achieving a great result, allowing us to distribute a total of €31.4 million in the form of Paf funds. The employees have done a phenomenal job over the past year, and the Board would like to thank all Paf employees who have made this possible,” says Jan-Mikael von Schantz, Chairman of the Paf Board.

Sustainable entertainment
In 2023, Paf chose to invest heavily in responsible gaming, and the loss limit for all customers was lowered to EUR 17,500 per year. In addition, in spring 2023, Paf introduced a specific loss limit for young players aged 18–19, €1,800 per year. In spring 2024, Paf chose to lower the loss limit for young people aged 20–24. Young people of that age already had a lower loss limit at Paf but it was further reduced from €10,000 to €8,000 per year.

“This is an important continuation of the direction we are striving to take at Paf for our responsible gaming. Now young customers can only gamble with us for sums that are at more sustainable levels and within the framework of the customer segment we have defined ourselves as the green segment,” says Christer Fahlstedt.

Paf’s customer segments 2017–2023
The published table shows the development of gaming in different customer segments from 2017 until 2023. The red segment for customers who have lost more than €30,000 in one year is at zero in recent years, as Paf’s loss limits stop large losses. The white segment shows the number of players who ended the year in profit.

“It is encouraging to see that we have once again increased the green revenues with more sustainable revenues by a full 7.6%. It is possible to change an outdated business model in the industry and we will continue our strive to be a gaming company that provides sustainable entertainment in everyday life,” says Christer Fahlstedt.

The figures for Paf’s customer segments have been reviewed by auditors as part of the audit of the financial statements.

“Our published and open customer segments show what our investments in responsible gaming measures have achieved over the years. The publication gives credibility to our efforts at a level that no other gaming company has been able to show,” says Christer Fahlstedt.

Daniela Forsgård new on the board
Paf gets a new board member when Daniela Forsgård takes a seat on the board. At the same time, Birgitta Eriksson is stepping down after many years on Paf’s board.

“I really want to thank Birgitta for the solid contribution she has made to Paf’s Board over the years.”

“Daniela Forsgård’s merit-based knowledge of finance, combined with the international experience she possesses, will fit in well with the Board. In addition, Daniela has personal experience of Paf as she previously worked at Paf,” says Jan-Mikael von Schantz.

The Paf Board now consists of Chairman Jan-Mikael von Schantz, Board members Gunnar Westerlund, Denise Johansson, Roger Nordlund and Daniela Forsgård.

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