Consortium makes SEK9bn bid for Cherry

Consortium makes SEK9bn bid for Cherry

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 Posted by News Team
Deal
Cherry chairman Morten Klein part of group looking to acquire Swedish online and land-based operator

A consortium involving UK private equity firm Bridgepoint, Betsson CEO Pontus Lindwall and Cherry founder Morten Klein has made a SEK9.19bn bid to acquire the operator and de-list its shares from the Nasdaq Stockholm. 

The consortium, European Entertainment Intressenter BidCo (EE Intressenter), has made a bit to acquire each Cherry share for a price of SEK87, representing a 20% premium on the operator’s closing share price on Monday December 17.

EE Intressenter comprises Bridgepoint Europe, Prunius Avium and Audere Est Facere, as well as Betsson chief executive Pontus Lindwall and the Klein Group, a vehicle owned by Cherry chairman Morten Klein. Also represented are Berkay Reyhan and Murat Can Yilanlioglu, directors of marketing business Hindigo Marketing, with Yilanlioglu also a director of Highlight Games, a studio in which Cherry owns a controlling stake.

Members of the consortium own 50,100,368 shares in Cherry, representing 47.4% of the operator’s total stock and 37.9% of voting rights. 

It has already secured undertakings to accept the offer from shareholders representing an addition 12,298,332 shares. This means individuals holding 59.1% of Cherry’s share capital and 66.5% of voting rights have agreed to back the deal.

Cherry founders Lars Kling and Per Hamberg have agreed to support the takeover, alongside CEO and founder of Cherry’s affiliate subsidiary Game Lounge Jonas Cederholm and Game Lounge co-founder Fredrik Langeland.

“We have followed Cherry closely for a long time and have the highest regard for the success and impressive track record that Cherry and its divisional management teams have achieved through driving innovation in the iGaming sector," Bridgepoint partner Mika Herold said.

"However, we also believe that many of the opportunities and challenges facing Cherry and its subsidiaries are easier to approach in a private setting and with a more favourable capital structure. The changing regulatory environment together with necessary measures to defend and increase Cherry’s market share over time, will require significant investment.

"We have presented a financially attractive offer for the shareholders, which is reaffirmed by the support received from some of Cherry’s largest shareholders. We are confident that the consortium members will be good stewards for the business and the employees going forward.”

The acceptance period for the offer begins on December 20, running to January 19, and can be extended.

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