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UK's Entain sets up unit to drive CEE expansion, buy Croatian gaming firm SuperSport

UK's Entain sets up unit to drive CEE expansion, buy Croatian gaming firm SuperSport Image source: Pixabay.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), August 12 (SeeNews) - British sports-betting and gaming group Entain said that it is forming a new majority-owned venture to drive expansion across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) which will take a controlling stake in Croatian gaming operator SuperSport Group at a valuation of 920 million euro ($947.2 million).

Entain will join hands with Czech investment firm EMMA Capital to set up Entain CEE, which will then acquire 75% of the economic rights in Croatian market leader SuperSport, Entain said in a London Stock Exchange filing on Thursday.

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The transaction amount comprises a 600 million euro payment at closing and an estimated earnout of 90 million euro, based on SuperSport's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in fiscal 2022.

Entain will have a call option on EMMA's remaining 25% stake in SuperSport, which it can exercise within three years to gain full control of the Croatian gaming and sportsbook market leader.

Founded in 2000, SuperSport held a 54% share in the fully-regulated Croatian market in the first half of 2021, according to the filing. The company's offerings include online and retail sports betting, digital gaming and virtual sports as well as online gaming platform eCasino. EMMA Capital took full control of SuperSport earlier this year, having gained an initial 67% stake in 2018 following an asset transfer from lottery company SAZKA Group, in which EMMA was a shareholder.

SuperSport owns the media, marketing and betting rights for all leagues of the Croatian Football Federation until 2026 and generated 85% of its 2021 revenue online. In 2020, the company generated EBITDA of 65 million euro on gross gaming revenue of 131 million euro, EMMA's website shows.

SuperSport CEO Radim Haluza will take the reins of Entain CEE to help drive the company's expansion through the attractive CEE regulated betting and gaming market, which is estimated to be worth some 5 billion euro a year and is expected to grow by an annual 10% or more through 2025, Entain said in its filing to the LSE. It added that it sees a compelling opportunity for consolidation as strong local operators have struggled to scale up or expand across CEE.

"By bringing together Entain's global expertise and EMMA's regional investment track record, we are creating a growth platform with considerable opportunity," Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Anderson said, adding that expansion across CEE is a core component of the UK company's growth strategy.

In CEE, Entain has wholly-owned subsidiaries in Bulgaria (GVC Services) and Ukraine (Ninja Casino), and holds a 51% stake in Albania's LevTech. Entain also owns Gamebookers, a sportsbook with wide popularity in east and central European markets that offers up to 30,000 bets daily on more than 90 sports.

($ = 0.97128 euro)