Wednesday, November 16, 2011 :  Solfive a good vehicle in which to re-enter the French market
 
The major European online gambling group Unibet has inked an agreement to acquire 100 percent of the shares of French company Solfive SAS, owner of SPS Betting France SAS.
 
Under the trademarks EurosportBet and EurosportPoker, licensed by the company Eurosport, Solfive operates a range of gambling and betting products such as sport betting, live betting, horse racing betting, and poker through its web sites.
 
The initial acquisition price is specified as Euro 5.625 million (GBP 4.8 million), plus net cash adjustment of Euro 1.5 million (GBP 1.3 million). The components of the initial acquisition price are payable as cash up front at day of closing.
 
Unibet will also provide funds to Solfive to enable the company to settle a fixed debt of Euro 2.375 million (GBP 2.0 million). Depending on trading results in the first six months following execution, an earn-out may be payable.
 
The transaction is subject to approval by the French regulator ARJEL and is expected to complete around the end of 2011.
 
Unibet intends to rebrand the platform from Eurosportbet.fr to Unibet.fr following a short transition and plans to build on the legacy strength of the Unibet brand and historic customer base. The transaction will increase re-regulated revenues for Unibet, but under the current terms and conditions of the French licensing system, the transaction is not expected to have a significant impact on profitability for 2012.
 
The Solfive Group currently employs 25 people mainly within CRM, trading, IT and marketing.
 
“This strategic acquisition gives Unibet immediate access to the French market with a technical platform that is already licensed offering sports betting, poker and horse racing. We will rebrand the business quickly to Unibet.fr. The combination of Unibet’s strong brand, the efforts already made to build a significant market share for EurosportBet, and the difficult decisions taken by management to control costs give the best opportunity to be successful in a very difficult market,” says Henrik Tjärnström, CEO Unibet.
 
“Even though we recognise that it will be difficult to generate profits in the short term under the current terms and conditions, we consider that over the medium term France will develop a more sustainable model that will better achieve the goals of player protection, fair competition and reasonable taxation.
 
Tjärnström added that the acquisition makes it possible for Unibet to re-enter the French market at a limited cost to take advantage of the longer-term opportunities.
 
"The extremely challenging terms and conditions for the French market make it very difficult for an independent operator to develop their business," said Olivier Ou Ramdane, CEO Solfive Group.
 
"We are delighted therefore to have this opportunity to work with Unibet, who have the experience, resources and brand legacy in France to succeed in this market in the long term. We are proud of the achievements of the EurosportBet team in establishing a strong market share and believe that this transaction provides the best platform for the long term success of the business and therefore the best opportunities for the excellent team that we have built."