Last week’s industry speculation, following Swedish gaming company Cherry AB’s halt in trading, was put to rest Monday as Cherry AB announced the acquisition of 49 percent of the shares in online gaming company ComeOn Malta Ltd.
Under the terms of the agreement, Cherry also reserves the option to acquire the remaining 51 percent share in ComeOn which may be exercised between October 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.
The total consideration is based on a multiple of 10 times the operating profit (EBIT) for 2016, and will be paid in two tranches.
In tranche one, which is planned to take place end of May/beginning of June 2016, Cherry will acquire 49 percent of the shares in ComeOn for a consideration of Euro 80 million. This part of the consideration will be deducted from payment of the final and total consideration in tranche two. The consideration in tranche one shall be paid with 50.4 percent of newly issued shares of series B in Cherry AB and 49.6 percent cash.
Tranche two would cover Cherry’s option to acquire the remaining 51 percent. Should Cherry decide not to use the option, then the seller has the right to repurchase the shares in ComeOn for Euro 40 million. The total consideration can be a maximum of Euro 280 million on a debt free basis.
The acquisition will significantly strengthen Cherry’s position in Scandinavian markets, the company said, and provides great opportunities for continued international expansion.
“Both Cherry and ComeOn are growing considerably faster than the market as a whole, which facilitates further investments in existing brands and continued expansion in new markets,” commented Fredrik Burvall, chief executive officer of Cherry AB. “We will add several strong brands and will profit from the strong entrepreneurial spirit within ComeOn.”
ComeOn markets games under several well-established brands such as ComeOn.com, Mobilbet.com, CasinoStugan.com, folkeautomaten.com, Suomikasino.com, GetLucky.com and Kasyno.pl.
The company boasts 1,112,932 registered customers of which 133,324 were active as of end of December 2015 which will strengthen Cherry’s sports betting customer base considerably.
“We are looking forward to joining forces with Cherry. Just like us, Cherry is growing quickly with a multi-brand strategy and we see a lot of potential synergies between the companies. We look forward to staying operationally involved with the new ownership, while still having a big stake in the future growth of the consolidated Cherry,” said ComeOn spokesperson Hans Martin Nakkim.
According to a presser, ComeOn’s sales in 2015 were close to Euro 80 million, up 60 percent compared to the previous year. Operating profit grew to around Euro 13 million, and increase close to 70 percent and the company expects to have sales of between Euro 100-120 million, with an operating profit of Euro 19-23 million, in 2016.
Cherry AB said it didn’t expected any redundancies as a result of the acquisition given that both groups are growing faster than the market and its combined resources will form a base for the group’s continued expansion. ComeOn’s management and founders will continue to work in the combined business going forward.
The acquisition is based on Cherry AB shareholder approvals and other regulatory requirements.