SBC News Flutter takes 51% stake in ‘Serbian Hero’ MaxBet for €140m

Flutter takes 51% stake in ‘Serbian Hero’ MaxBet for €140m

Flutter Entertainment Plc will take a ‘podium place’ in Serbia having agreed to terms to acquire a 51% stake in MaxBet Kladionica for a cash consideration of €141m (£123m).

Announced this morning, Flutter stated that its majority investment in MaxBet advances commercial prospects in the fast-growth Balkans region, in which its ‘International unit’ targets ‘Gold positions’ in the markets of Serbia, Croatia, and others, dependent on regulatory terms.

Should Flutter achieve its objective, the FTSE100 group retains the right to acquire the remaining 49% of MaxBet’s business by 2029.

Peter Jackson, Flutter Chief Executive, commented: “I am excited to announce the addition of MaxBet to the Flutter portfolio. This acquisition continues our progress against the strategic priorities we have set for our International division; to buy and build podium positions in regulated markets.”

Deal terms cited: “MaxBet has successfully capitalised on the fast-growing online market in Serbia which grew by 25% on a compound annual basis over the last 5 years. During the last twelve months to June 2023, the business generated pro forma fully regulated revenue of €145m, of which 44% is online, with Adjusted EBITDA of €32m.”

Mirroring previous acquisitions, Flutter will integrate MaxBet onto the ‘Flutter Edge’ technology platform to optimise the betting operator’s local presence, which expands across 400 retail outlets in four different markets, with an estimated 20% online share in Serbia, and 95,000 online average monthly players.

Further expansion in the Balkans sees Flutter aim for strong growth prospects as Serbia presents an attractive, regulated market with low online penetration (circa 35%) and an expected online compound annual growth of approximately 15% to 2025.

Branded a ‘local hero’, MaxBet will benefit from joining Flutter’s International portfolio, gaining market-leading solutions in global proprietary pricing, risk management, proprietary gaming content, and innovation hubs, all aimed at enhancing customer acquisition, retention, and improved gaming experience.

The deal sees competition heat-up in the Balkans region, as Flutter will compete for market share against FTSE rival Entain Plc – who in 2022 acquired leading Croatian gambling group SuperSport for €600m in a deal co-funded by CEE investment fund EMMA Capital.

The MaxBet transaction is subject to customary regulatory clearances and is expected to close in Q1 2024.

Peter Jackson concluded: “MaxBet is an excellent opportunity to replicate the success we have achieved in markets like Georgia, India, and Italy by acquiring a strong brand in a podium position, where we see a compelling opportunity to combine that extensive local expertise with the power of the Flutter Edge to accelerate and transform growth.”

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