02/08/2012 : AUSSIE ONLINE ACTION FOR UNIBET
Deal with Betchoice opens the door to Australian markets
The European online betting group Unibet plc has signed an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Betchoice Corporation Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s foremost independent corporate internet bookmakers.
Betchoice operates a range of sports and racing betting products in the Australian market through its web site Betchoice.com, and represents Unibet's second move into a regulated market.
A Unibet spokesman said that the acquisition gives the group access to the fast-growing Australian online market, and represents a solid platform from which to invest further and gain market share. It also positioned Unibet favourably for the anticipated opening of live betting products in Australia at some point in the future, and provides Unibet with horse racing capability which can be leveraged further across the group, he said.
The initial acquisition price is A$ 20.0 million (GBP 13.6 million), on a cash free and debt free basis, payable in cash on closing. In addition, there is an earn-out for Mark Morrissey, founder, chairman and 38 percent shareholder based on 5.5x 2014 EBITDA in Australia less the initial acquisition price.
Morrisey will remain with the business post completion. A further AUD 2.4 million in aggregate will be payable to certain other shareholders, if 2014 EBITDA in Australia exceeds A$ 4.4 million.
Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by the Northern Territory Racing Commission and is expected to take place before the end of the second quarter of 2012.
The acquisition will involve extensive rebranding, changing the Betchoice identity to that of Unibet after a short transition period. Unibet plans to invest significantly in the Aussie market over the next two years, improving its Australian product portfolio and marketing to strongly establish the Unibet brand.
Applying the wider sports product range and risk management techniques within Kambi, Unibet’s B2B Sportsbook division, to Betchoice will improve Betchoice’s offering and financial performance, the spokesman claimed. Kambi will also benefit from integrating Betchoice’s racing product within its portfolio.
Betchoice currently employs around 35 people in Australia, all of whom will be integrated into the Unibet team. Betchoice operates under a Northern Territory sports bookmaking licence and has offices in Darwin and Sydney.
“Betchoice already has a strong offering and market position in horse racing and through Kambi, Unibet has the opportunity to enhance the quality and performance of Betchoice’s sports betting offering and so to deliver revenue growth and margin improvements,” Henrik Tjärnström, CEO Unibet, said this week.
"The acquisition of Betchoice will provide Unibet with a platform to facilitate other gambling services and opportunities should market conditions continue to improve.”