Strategic Investment in Scandinavia

Clarissa Elsner

GVC Holdings PLC (AIM:GVC), announces that it is entering into a joint venture agreement with Betit Securities Limited (“BSL”) via a new company known as Betit Holdings Limited (“Betit”) in pursuance of its stated objective to make investments and acquisitions whilst not impeding the level of its current dividend.

GVC’s upfront commitment is an initial €3.5 million out of free cash flow for a 15 per cent share in the joint venture and is dependent on the granting of approval by the Lotteries & Gaming Association of Malta (“LGA”).  GVC will be taking a seat on the board of Betit.

GVC has a call option to acquire the balance of the outstanding shares.  The call option can be exercised no earlier than 1 July 2017 and no later than 30 September 2017, and would be subject to further LGA clearance and the AIM Rules.  The minimum call option price is €70 million, and the actual price would be determined by the mix of revenues between regulated and non-regulated markets and certain multiples attaching thereto which at our current multiple levels would lead to the transaction being accretive for shareholders.

If GVC decides not to exercise its call option then BSL may require GVC to acquire its shares in Betit at a price determined by the mix of revenues between regulated and non-regulated markets and certain multiples thereof (but absent any floor on the price).  Completion of this purchase would be subject to certain conditions including GVC’s ability to raise the necessary financing.  Should GVC fail to raise the required financing, BSL may acquire GVC’s shares in BHL for nominal consideration.

Betit and its management team
BSL is majority owned by Optimizer Invest Ltd, a venture capital business owned and operated by iGaming veterans Henrik Persson, Andre Lavold and Mikael Harstad.  Together they have been a part of launching and growing a number of high-value profitable companies including; Nordic Gaming Group, Betsafe.com and BestGames Holdings.

Strategic rationale
The joint venture agreement provides GVC with a strategic entry point into the dynamic and expanding Scandinavian gaming markets in which, to date, GVC and its key brand Sportingbet have had no significant presence.  Should the call option be exercised, GVC will have further diversified the Group’s geographic revenue mix.

According to estimates by Svenska Spel, the Swedish state-owned gambling company, online gaming turnover in Sweden alone topped SEK 6.2 billion (€750 million) in 2013.

Betit commenced operations in December 2013 and has already achieved average daily revenues in excess of €40k and has around 1,600 players per day.

Betit operates the brands Thrills.com and Superlenny.com and since it started trading has grown rapidly to a team of 60 employees.  With a clear focus on product usability, design and service, both Thrills.com and Superlenny.com have seen unparalleled growth in the Nordic markets.

Commenting on the strategic investment, Kenneth Alexander, Chief Executive of GVC Holdings plc, said: “GVC’s commitment to expansion without undermining the current level of dividend is represented in this investment.  The lucrative Scandinavian market has been on our radar for some time and we are delighted to be working with the entrepreneurial team at Betit who have a proven track record in the Scandinavian egaming markets, and have already grown the business from a standing-start five months ago to generating revenues of over €40k per day now.  By entering into this joint venture, we believe that GVC can diversify its revenue streams and significantly enhance the future dividend prospects and valuation of the Group for a minimal initial outlay and is similar to what has been achieved through GVC’s Betboo acquisition in Latin America.”

 

For further information:

GVC Holdings PLC
Kenneth Alexander, Chief ExecutiveTel: +44 (0) 20 7398 7702
Richard Cooper, Group Finance Directorwww.gvc-plc.com
Daniel Stewart & Company PlcTel: +44 (0) 20 7776 6550
David Hart / Paul Shackleton/ Martin Lampshirewww.danielstewart.co.uk

Media enquiries:

Abchurch
Henry Harrison-Topham / Olivia Stuart TaylorTel: +44 (0) 20 7398 7702
henry.ht@abchurch-group.comwww.abchurch-group.com

 

About GVC Holdings PLC

GVC Holdings PLC is a multinational sports betting and gaming group. Its core brands are CasinoClub, Betboo and Sportingbet. The Group has over 600 employees and is headquartered in the Isle of Man and is licensed in Malta, Germany, Denmark, UK, South Africa, Italy, Alderney and the Dutch Caribbean.

Further information on the Group is available at www.gvc-plc.com