Catena Media raises €50m for acquisitions

Catena Media raises €50m for acquisitions

Monday, September 12, 2016
Company raises cash through bond market

Leading affiliate publisher Catena Media is set to be adding to its list of recent acquisitions after it raised €50m through the issuance of a bond which it says will help expand the group further.

The three-year secured loan bears a floating rate of 6.75% above the three-month Eurobor. The company said the money will be used to strengthen the company’s position as a leading online performance marketing operator and lead generation experts in the online gambling and sports-betting space.

In June the company made two forays into the affiliate space, buying out the assets of Swedish-facing sports-betting affiliate Spelbloggare.se for up to €5m and also acquiring the assets of an unnamed German affiliate assets, including a player database and list of domain names, for up to €6.5m.

These deals followed on from the €15m acquisition of the AskGamblers.com assets which it snapped up in April, the largest in Catena Media’s short history. Among its list of buys are an unnamed Belgium and Italian-facing affiliate publisher, another Swedish-based operation called Wonko Media, a further one called Staymedia, Arctic Marketing, Slottymania and finally RightCasino, bought last November for up to $9m, depending on the earnout.

It is not known whether the company has any specific targets in mind for its next spending spree. However, the company isn’t alone in buying up affiliate-related assets. It’s fellow Stockholm-listed mini-conglomerate Gaming Innovation Group has also been buying up affiliate assets, including the Magenti Media business, while Cherry Gaming has also been in the market, adding the Interclick business to its Game Lounge operation for $1.5m.

Catena Media was formed in 2012 by Erik Bergman and Emil Thidell. Like Gaming Innovation Group, Catena Media also has VC firm Optimizer Invest as an investor. Optimizer is another Swedish-focused company launched by former Betsafe founders Henrik Ekdahl, Andre Lavold and Mikael Riese Harstad, which bought a 50% stake in Catena. Following a float in Stockholm, Optimizer retains a 16% stake in the business.

The company had prefigured the bond issue news with a statement late last week saying it was looking into ways to raise a war-chest with financial advisers Carnegie Investment Bank and Swedbank. It said that a key part of its strategy was to target growth of 75% a year until 2018.

In its most recent results for trading in the three months to June, the company said revenues had totalled €9.6m, an increase of more than 200% on the previous year. Adjusted operating profit amounted to €5m while pre-tax profit stood at €4.9m. New depositing customer was also up over 200% to over 47,500.

Chief executive Robert Anderson said the acquisitions in the past two years have paved the way to greater growth prospects. “During the quarter, we made several strategic acquisitions that have broadened Catena Media’s offering, and thus opened up substantial, new opportunities for growth,” he said. “These initiatives have enabled us to further strengthen our position as one of the leading players in lead generation in iGaming. We are pleased to note that the acquisitions we have made during the year have been integrated according to plan, with a clear revenue boost generated by the Catena technical platform. We will continue to work toward our vision through our proven model of acquisition with rapidly realised synergies combined with organic expansion.”

Totally Gaming says: The world of online gambling-related affiliates is changing fast. This is without the news from Paysafe of the Income Access buyout, which is likely to have ramifications across the industry in the years to come. The space is becoming slowly more corporate as one-man bands are replaced by industrial content provision entities, with Catena Media being one of the largest, joining XL Media, iBusMedia and others at the front rank of online marketing and lead generation companies. A space to watch.

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