Unibet outlines UK growth goals

Unibet outlines UK growth goals

Friday, July 10, 2015 Totally Gaming
Operator expects Stan James deal to pay dividends

Unibet wants to enhance its position in the UK after agreeing to acquire the online arm of fellow gaming operator Stan James Group.

The Swedish multinational will pay £19m (€26.4m/$29.5m) for the business, owned by co-founder Stephen Fisher. The transaction does not include Stan James' retail brand, which for a transitional period has been granted rights to the name.

Unibet hopes that the deal, which is expected to be completed late in the third quarter of 2015 subject to regulatory approvals, will improve its UK returns while also improving Stan James' offering.

“We have long been looking at strengthening our position in the UK online market,” said Henrik Tjärnström, chief executive of Unibet. “Stan James as an operator is one of the most well-respected in the UK market with particular strengths in horse-racing and other British sports.

“Stan James has had a long presence in the British market where there are few companies of this size available for acquisition.

“Since Unibet has only recently targeted the UK market there is little overlap between our respective businesses.

“Over time we see a significant potential to increase the breadth of the Stan James product range, such as live streaming, casino and improving the mobile offering.”

In its annual report for 2014, Unibet noted that the UK market is its fastest-growing region in percentage terms, although it conceded that this was from a small base. It did not give figures for its UK operations, but said that gross winnings revenue (GWR) in Western Europe was €124.6m in 2014, up 44 per cent on the previous year.

Stan James, which has approximately 150 employees based in Gibraltar who will be transferred to Unibet, saw GWR of £10.5m in the year to May 31, 2015. Unibet said that on an annualised basis the acquisition multiple is around six times 2015 EBITDA.

“We are delighted to join the wider Unibet group,” said Denis Kelly, Stan James Online chief executive. “There is a substantial market opportunity in the UK following the re-regulation.

“Through the combination of Unibet’s expertise in marketing and financial strength, together with Stan James’ high quality sports and racing betting offering aimed at the UK market, I am confident that we can increase substantially the combined group’s market share in the UK.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the shareholders of Stan James for their strong support of the business.”


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