UK interactive television gambling group NetPlay TV plc has hit the ground running in 2009 with the acquisitions of Venturygames and Toucanwin , the mobile gambling and skill gaming businesses of Info-download Limited, a subsidiary of Zed Worldwide, S.A (‘Zed'), a developer of entertainment and community products and services for mobile and the internet. Zed currently operates in 54 countries with forecast revenues for 2008 of over $800 million, generated by over 49 million users.
NetPlay TV has also signed an exclusive two year sales agreement with Zed to sell the NetPlay TV range of interactive gaming solutions to its 130 plus mobile network operator client base worldwide.
Venturygames is a provider of casino, bingo entertainment products and services for mobile phone users. It operates solely in the UK and has a relationship with mobile network operator, O2, a Telefonica subsidiary. The business has grown rapidly over the past few months with the value of bets placed currently exceeding GBP 400 000 a month.
NetPlay CEO Martin Higginson says that gambling on mobiles has always been a key part of his company's gaming strategy, and the directors therefore believe this acquisition will help accelerate the convergence of the company's products across the different platforms. Over the past year, the NetPlay's mobile revenues have increased significantly with over GBP 400 000 in gross mobile revenues being generated in October 2008.
The strengthened partnership with Zed will allow the NetPlay to exploit Zed Worldwide's relationships with network operators, allowing the operators to profit from their mobile subscribers gambling on NetPlay TV's products on other platforms as well as mobile, such as TV and internet.
Toucanwin.com was established by Zed Worldwide several months ago to exploit the growing ‘skill' gaming business. It is widely recognised that allowing people to challenge each other in games of skill for a cash prize is an excellent medium in countries where gambling is not allowed, withj very good growth potential says Higginson.
Toucanwin.com takes 10 percent of the monies wagered as its margin for providing the service.
NetPlay TV will also acquire the UK mobile quiz business, ‘Grab a Grand' from Info-download Limited as part of the acquisition transactions. Currently the weekly quiz has over 11 000 subscribers who play for a chance to win cash prizes, as well as a GBP 1 million draw.
The businesses acquired by NetPlay in these transactions currently generate monthly gross revenues of around GBP 500 000. Revenue growth has been aggressive, increasing by over 200 percent in fewer than six months.
The consideration payable by NetPlay TV for the assets is GBP 1 million, to be satisfied in full by the allotment and issue by NetPlay TV of 3 846 153 ordinary shares of 5 pence each at a pre-agreed price per share of 26p. 2 884 615 shares were issued at completion and a further 961 538 will be issued on 31 March 2009 in order to cover any potential warrant claims. The shares will be subject to a 12 month hard lock-in and an orderly market agreement thereafter.
NetPlay TV has additionally entered into two strategic partnerships with Zed Worldwide. The first two year partnership allows Zed to sell the converged interactive gaming solutions of NetPlay TV's products to its extensive client base of over 130 mobile network operators in 54 countries. NetPlay TV is now able to offer a number of complete solutions to partners from skill gaming, to Bingo and to its Supercasino offering. All of these products offer a mobile, Internet and TV solution allowing mobile customers to also participate via the Internet and TV.
The second one year strategic relationship with Zed, allows NetPlay TV to exploit the mobile development skill base of Zed Worldwide. Zed has over 200 full time mobile developers. This relationship enables NetPlay TV to integrate its offerings with the mobile medium much quicker than it had previously expected. A complete converged solution allowing the user to interact from one single wallet via any device further strengthens the NetPlay's offering.
Zed Worldwide currently owns 13 250 000 shares in NetPlay TV plc.
Commenting on the deals, Higginson said:
"We are extremely pleased to be working closer with the team at Zed Worldwide. The mobile platform is an important part of our converged plan, and as such adding their mobile gambling business to ours strengthens this position further. Having access to the Zed mobile developers will enable us to develop integrated mobile applications much quicker and therefore give the consumer greater choice of which device he or she accesses our gaming services from.
"Adding skill gaming with the acquisition of Toucanwin.com brings another business unit to our portfolio, allowing us to offer every form of gaming to the consumer from games of skill to bingo to full blown ‘live' casino games. As we move forward, we will offer all of these services via multiple access points from mobile to Internet to TV. The signing of this deal will also allow us access the millions of Zed users as well as their network of mobile network operator relationships.
"This is another milestone in the growth of our business, this acquisition increases Zed's stake in our business and such reaffirms their belief in our goal to continue building a truly converged global interactive entertainment business."
Javier Dolset Perez – CEO of Zed Worldwide said:
"Some months ago we took a strategic stake in NetPlay TV as we believe in their vision. Selling these assets to NetPlay TV allows Zed to take what we have built and integrate it with NetPlay TV's strong portfolio of games. This strategic partnership enables both companies to increase growth and offer gaming solutions to our customers worldwide. Combined with access to our vast network of customers and MNO relationships, this will assist NetPlay TV's goal to build a global entertainment business."
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