New Year, New Acquisitions

Flutter Entertainment continue to expand their business

Flutter Entertainment continue to expand their business. The owners of gambling companies such as Paddy Power and Betfair, have purchased bingo operators Tombola for £402 million.

It was in November 2021 that the first news came of a possible deal between the two companies. Peter Jackson, who is the chief executive of Flutter, spoke three months ago about why they were so interested in acquiring Tombola. He said how they had “long admired” Tombola for “its product expertise, highly recreational customer base and focus on sustainable play.”

Now that interest has turned into a purchase of one of the largest bingo operators in the UK. A statement from Flutter said that they have received all the necessary regulatory confirmations that would allow the deal to be completed. The acquisition was paid in cash and “fully funded through the group’s current cash and debt facilities.”

Tombola has an estimated number of 400,000 players per month. For 16 years they have been active in the UK but in recent years, also Spain and Italy. The company has a low-stake bingo offering. Another area in which they specialize is protecting their customers. Tombola were one of the first companies to introduce deposit limits and mandatory staking.

More Prospective Deals for 2020

Another deal that may happen this year concerns Playtech. JKO Play Limited are interested in buying the online casino games developer. Their hopes of doing so have been boosted by receiving backing from India-born millionaire Vikrant Bharaga.

The 49-year-old is the former Marketing Director of online casino and poker company PartyGaming. He left that position in 2006 and is now running Veddis Ventures. He’s believed to be worth around £500 million and is willing to use some of that wealth to help JKO Limited purchase Playtech.

JKO Play Limited is an enterprise run by Eddie Jordan (previously in F1) and Keith O’Loughlin who has many worked in the gambling industry for many years. They face opposition from Aristocrat Leisure Limited, who have made a bid for the company.

Aristocrat say that their offer is the only firm one made and would provide “attractive value in cash and enhanced regulatory and financial certainty.” The company also say that JKO Play Limited has “already had a substantial amount of time to make an alternative proposal.”

Playtech were to be holding a shareholder vote on the Aristocrat Leisure Limited takeover deal, worth £2.7 billion. That vote has been postponed giving other interested parties additional time to prepare their bids for the company. That won’t please Aristocrat who feel that further delays will just extend the “period of uncertainty” that currently exists.

Those interested have until January 26 to make a firm offer. The shareholder vote is expected to now take place on February 2.