The governance of London-listed JPJ Group Plc has this morning confirmed that it has reached a ‘conditional arrangement’ to acquire operating partner Gamesys Limited outright.
JPJ has put forward a £490 million transaction, moving to acquire Gamesys platforms and the operated brands of Virgin Games, Virgin Casino, Monopoly Casino, and Heart Bingo.
Founded in 2001, Gamesys is the former operating company of JackpotJoy brands, a division sold to former Canadian igaming group Intertain for £430 million in 2015.
Following a wholesale corporate reorganisation in 2017, which would see Intertain migrate its listings and holdings onto the London Stock Exchange, a new executive formed JackpotJoy Plc – later renamed as JPJ Group.
In its filing, JPJ informs that it will pay £250 million in cash for Gamesys assets (excluding sports betting properties), with a further £175 million contribution added to an enlarged and renamed ‘Gamesys Group Plc’ debt facilities.
The transaction represents an estimated multiple of 7.3x adjusted EBITDA for Gamesys assets for the 12 months ending December 2018.
Should the acquisition be finalised, a new leadership team will be formed from JPJ and Gamesys executives, with current Gamesys CEO Lee Fenton appointed as Gamesys Group Chief Executive.
“I am very excited to join the Enlarged Group as CEO,” said Fenton. “This is a strategically important transaction that adds scale and combines complementary capabilities as the competitive and regulatory environment continues to evolve. The Enlarged Group’s combined brand portfolio, strategically aligned operating structure, technology capabilities and exceptional combined talent base will create significant opportunities for growth in the market.”
Fenton will be supported by Robeson Reeves as Group COO and Keith Laslop as Group CFO. Current JPJ Chief Executive Simon Wykes will assume the role of ‘Transition Director’ for a 12-month period following the transaction.
At a governance level, an enlarged Gamesys Group will be led by Neil Goulden as Executive Chairman.
“This Acquisition marks an important transformational step in JPJ’s growth, providing significant benefits for shareholders, employees and customers,” said Goulden. “For shareholders, we expect the acquisition to deliver earnings accretion in the first full financial year of ownership, while our employees will benefit from the combination of two companies with a strong commitment to responsible gaming and where the greater scale will further enhance our product development and technology capabilities.
“The rationale for the acquisition of Gamesys is based on growth and both teams – at JPJ and our new colleagues joining us from Gamesys – are excited and motivated by the great opportunity which lies ahead.”