BtoBet founder Alessandro Fried has discussed about Aspire Global’s acquisition of the sportsbook and tech company and what next awaits the newly expanded iGaming group. Of one thing he is certain… the future looks very bright for the entire group.
News that BtoBet was acquired by iGaming solutions provider Aspire Global took the industry by storm. And rightly so, because through this acquisition we have assisted to the expansion of an already consolidated group which in all its elements is now at the forefront of the industry’s B2B value chain.
But what was the primary reason that led to this acquisition? There are two aspects that were fundamental. Aspire Global was seeking to increase its B2B product offering to their customers, but was missing on one of the industry’s most important verticals, which is sportsbook. It’s one of the most important in terms of market requirements, but also from a revenue generation point of view. From our side we were looking to have a partner that would push us quickly to markets which we were still missing in our global footprint. So all in all this acquisition was the ideal match with both companies finding a mutual balance in each other to achieve their goals.
During the past days it’s not the first time that I have been asked “what is next now for BtoBet”? The company will definitely continue to uphold its identity as a leading brand on the market, maintaining its own organisational chart, and pursuing a strategy that for the past years has characterised it and put it apart from the competition. This means that the relationship with our partners, the way that we deliver our services and assist all operators, will remain unaltered.
Nonetheless, there is no denying that with BtoBet now forming part of this larger group our partners can expect to have major innovative solutions put at their disposal derivating from an increased investment capacity, and at the same time accessing additional content and products that constitute the group’s portfolio.
It is worthy of mention that through this acquisition, the Aspire Global group, and BtoBet directly, will gain a significant market advantage. The group will have an incredible market cover, with BtoBet leading the way in emergent markets such as Africa and Latin America, and Aspire Global playing a leading role in more mature and new markets such as Europe or the US.
This will in itself create new market opportunities, with Aspire Global now being able to offer a holistic iGaming solution in the markets they are currently present and where up until now they were missing the sportsbook solution. All this without mentioning the tangible potential to generate significant growth, with the group providing the possibility to large customers to enter new markets through the use of a very advanced and complete solution in a very short time-to-market.
During the past days one of the primary questions that I posed myself was “in which way will Aspire Global enable BtoBet in becoming a leading sportsbook platform provider?” The quest for this answer took me to what formed an intrinsic part of our goals from the very beginning… global presence and market share. BtoBet has a very strong presence in emerging markets, but in order to reach the next step we had to push our products in markets such as Europe and the US. However, these markets require a significant amount of investment which is countered by a high level of organisational influence in order to gain access to the industry’s larger operators and bookmakers. In this sense Aspire Global was the perfect match for us, with the group offering stability and carrying a lot of clout in the betting and gambling industry on a global level.
Aspire Global’s iGaming (PAM) platform is already certified in the US and other major markets, and this means that BtoBet with its sportsbook product can now gain immediate access to these yet uncharted markets for the company. This is what we ultimately expect from this new chapter… gaining a strong entry to these new regions that still do not offer a lot of technological alternatives comparable to the ones that we offer today, and take the opportunity to bring to market a complete product covering all the elements of the iGaming value chain. Together we will be able to meet the requests and expectations of all operators that intend to work with us in all market scenarios, whether mature or emerging.
At the same time, I firmly assert that BtoBet will keep its growth momentum in Africa and Latin America. We have invested heavily in these markets in the past and our commitment to these strategic markets will remain unaffected. The very strong knowledge that we have cultivated locally during the past years have transformed BtoBet in the perfect gateway for any Tier 1 or larger Tier 2 operators that want to target these continents, and such position will be further bolstered, in the short term.
BtoBet’s acquisition by Aspire Global is testimony of the success and potential that the company keeps in hold. It all boils down to the sheer determination and talent of each and every member that forms part, and has formed part in the past, of this incredible and fast growing company. This new chapter will mark the perfect opportunity for the company to reach new heights, and we all must evaluate this as another step towards achieving a great group result.
Azerion Announces Proposed Changes to its Supervisory Board
Since the start of 2022, Azerion has seen a period of significant transformation and growth including its listing on Euronext Amsterdam, the completed sale of the Youda card games portfolio and the recently announced placement of EUR 165 million of senior secured floating rate bonds.
Following their successful stewardship throughout this period, Azerion now announced the decision of Peter Tordoir (Chairman) and Derk Haank to step down from Azerion’s Supervisory Board. Both decisions to step down are expected to take effect as from the date of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to be convened as soon as is reasonably practicable to appoint the proposed new Supervisory Board members described below.
As Azerion prepares for the next stage of its growth plan and the business continues to scale into becoming one of Europe’s largest digital advertising and entertainment media platforms, Azerion welcomed Zafer Karataş and Wim de Pundert as proposed new Supervisory Board members. Further details relating to both proposed Supervisory Board members and the arrangements for the EGM are expected to be published shortly. A new Chairperson will be appointed by the Supervisory Board in due course.
Umut Akpinar, CEO of Azerion, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Tordoir and Derk Haank for their invaluable contribution to the success of Azerion and, in particular, during its initial phase as a listed company. We will be pleased to welcome Zafer Karataş and Wim de Pundert as new Supervisory Board members bringing additional commercial, industry and capital markets experience to the Board.”
Background on Proposed New Supervisory Board Members
Zafer Karataş brings extensive experience in Business Management, M&A, Reorganizations and Financial Audit. He is currently Chairman of the Board of technology company MeritGrup and a Supervisory board member of DVA Bilisim and Most Teknoloji.
Wim de Pundert has been active as an investor and entrepreneur since the early 1990s, including through the use of buy and build and market consolidation strategies. De Pundert founded HTP Investments, a shareholder of Azerion, together with Klaas Meertens. He is also a member of the supervisory board of Knaus Tabbert AG, a European manufacturer of caravans and mobile homes listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
Entain Provides Update on Current Trading and FY23 Guidance
Entain plc has provided an update on current trading and FY 2023 guidance, as well as plans to update shareholders on the progress of ongoing actions to accelerate operational performance and drive shareholder value.
Post the summer, Online Net Gaming Revenue (NGR) has been mixed across the Group, but in aggregate, softer than anticipated. Q3 Online NGR growth is now expected to be up high single-digit percent, and down high single digit percent on a proforma basis. Key drivers include:
- Adverse sporting results impacting sports margins during September
- Group wide implementation of industry leading safer gambling measures and ongoing regulatory headwinds persisting longer than expected, particularly in the UK
- Slower growth than expected in Australia and Italy
- Good underlying Online growth (ex-regulatory impacts) as evidenced by further strong proforma growth in active customers across the quarter
- Strong performance from recent acquisitions, particularly SuperSport in Croatia
- Robust performance across Retail
BetMGM in the US continuing to perform well: on track to deliver positive EBITDA in the second half of 2023; FY2023 NGR at the upper end of $1.8-$2.0bn guidance; and the successful rollout of Single Account Single Wallet, as well as online sportsbook enhancements supporting strong start to the NFL season.
Entain now expect Group Online NGR for FY2023 to be up low double-digit percent with proforma NGR down low single digit percent. The company reiterate their expectations for FY2023 EBITDA to be in the range of £1.00bn-£1.05bn supported by robust operational controls.
Actions to Accelerate Operational Strategy and Performance
Over the last three years Entain has undergone a significant strategic transformation, improving the quality of earnings and aligning operations to ensure the Group is positioned as strongly as possible to deliver long term shareholder value.
Alongside the Q3 trading update on 2 November 2023, management will share more detail on how these actions are being implemented to accelerate performance and delivery, including:
- A comprehensive market review focusing on long-term sustainable organic growth
- The simplification of Group structures and operations to improve operational leverage and reduce costs
- A plan for the migration of acquired businesses on to the Group’s industry leading technology platform
- Optimising our capital allocation priorities
- Progress on delivery of the Group’s Online EBITDA margin target of 30%
Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain, said: “We continue to see good underlying growth in our online business and are reiterating our EBITDA guidance for the year despite softer than expected revenue growth in Q3 and the ongoing roll-out of industry-leading safer gambling measures. We continue to attract more customers than ever before to enjoy our products and services. BetMGM remains on track to deliver positive EBITDA in H2 and a full year NGR performance at the top end of our expectations, and we are particularly excited about the product improvements that we are rolling out over the NFL season.
“We have made significant changes to the Group over the last three years. Our focus now is on accelerating the actions we are taking to drive sustainable organic growth, expand our margins, capitalise on the US opportunity and deliver long-term returns for our shareholders. We remain confident in our ability to deliver on the vast opportunities ahead of us, and look forward to sharing more detail about the changes that we are making alongside our Q3 trading update in November.”
Holland Casino Identifies New Groningen Casino Site
Holland Casino has chosen Business Park Ter Borch as the new location for its Groningen casino. Holland Casino selected the location at the gateway to Groningen for its accessibility and construction opportunities. Business park Ter Borch, on the edge of the municipality of Tynaarlo, offers Holland Casino the best opportunities to build a casino that meets the company’s architectural and sustainability requirements. Moreover, the location at the gateway to Groningen is easily accessible for guests and there is ample parking.
CEO Petra de Ruiter said: “We are happy that the decision has now been made. If the Tynaarlo municipal council is as enthusiastic as the board of Holland Casino, we can enter the period of planning and construction. I’m looking forward to that and especially to the moment when the new Holland Casino Groningen is open. That is not only good news for our guests, but also for our employees.
“They will soon be able to optimally welcome guests from a new building and offer the hospitality that can be expected from us.”
Spatial planning councilor Jurryt Vellinga of the municipality of Tynaarlo said: “The location makes sense because of the good accessibility and the space that the business park offers. For us it is a sign that the municipality of Tynaarlo and the region are still popular for companies. This location offers employment opportunities and is a great boost for tourism in our municipality.”
Attention has also been paid to the former Holland Casino location on Gedempte Kattendiep in Groningen. The casino was destroyed in a fire in 2017, with Holland Casino operating a temporary facility since 2018.
“Holland Casino offers the municipality of Groningen every cooperation to ensure that something beautiful comes back to the city center. We are grateful to everyone involved for all the cooperation and support we have received in recent years. We are very grateful to Groningen and Tynaarlo for the efforts made to find a suitable location,” Ms. de Ruiter said.
The new branch of Holland Casino, Holland Casino Groningen, is expected to open in 2027.
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