The European online gambling group GVC Holdings plc has announced a joint venture agreement with Betit Securities Limited in Scandinavia via a new company to be titled Betit Holdings Limited.
GVC says the objective of the deal is to make investments and acquisitions whilst not impeding the level of its current dividend, and that its upfront commitment is an initial Euro 3.5 million out of free cash flow for a 15 percent share in the joint venture, which is subject to the approval of its regulator, the LGA of Malta.
GVC will hold a seat on the Betit board of directors and has a call option to acquire the balance of the outstanding shares, which can be exercised no earlier than July 1 2017 and no later than September 30 2017.
The minimum call option price is Euro 70 million, and the actual price would be determined by the mix of revenues between regulated and non-regulated markets and certain multiples.
Conditions attached to the deal include one where, in the event that GVC decides not to exercise its call option, Betit can require it to buy its shares at a price determined by the mix of revenues between regulated and non-regulated markets and multiples thereof.
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, Betit Securities may acquire GVC’s shares in BHL for nominal consideration.
Betit Securities is majority owned by Optimizer Invest Ltd, a venture capital business owned and operated by i-gaming 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.
In a statement Wednesday, GVC said that 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.
According to estimates by Svenska Spel, the Swedish state-owned gambling company, online gaming turnover in Sweden alone topped SEK 6.2 billion (Euro 750 million) in 2013.
Betit commenced operations in December 2013 and has already achieved average daily revenues in excess of Euro 40,000 and has around 1,600 players per day. It operates the brands Thrills.com and Superlenny.com and since it started trading has grown rapidly to a team of 60 employees.
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 Euro 40,000 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.”
GVC also issued a trading update Wednesday ahead of its agm, where agreement will be sought for a dividend payment of 16 Euro cents per share
The company reports that net gaming revenue in the 41 days of Q2-2014 from 1 April 2014 to 11 May 2014 has averaged Euro 601,000 per day – up 8.1 percent on the the previous quarter (Q1-2014: Euro 556,000), and 11 percent higher than the same period last year (Q2-2013: Euro 542,000). On a constant currency measure, Q2-2014 would have been Euro 654,000 per day, 20 percent ahead of Q2-2013.
The company’s mobile product did particularly well, with gross revenue per day double that of last year at an average for Q2-2014 of Euro 108,000 per day.
Management said it was encouraged by the strong trading and is confident that current market expectations for the full year will be met.