FansUnite pockets CA$2.8m profit from sale of Scottish market McBookie brand

FansUnite pockets CA$2.8m profit from sale of Scottish McBookie brand

Canada-based betting and entertainment group FansUnite has sold its Scotland-facing McBookie brand for CA$5m (£2.9m), three years after first acquiring the operator.

SBC News FansUnite pockets CA$2.8m profit from sale of Scottish McBookie brand
Paul Petrie

Scott Burton, CEO of FansUnite, explained in a statement that the TSX-listed firm has opted to offload the betting and gaming operator in order to focus more on B2B operations, citing the recent publication of the Gambling Act review White Paper as a motivating factor.

Following the sale, McBookie Directors Paul Petrie and Damian Walker will remain at the helm of the firm, bought by FansUnite in March 2020 for $2.2m (£1.3m). FansUnite therefore has collected a ‘significant profit’ of $2.8m (£1.6m) from the sale.

“This is a great deal and outcome for McBookie and for FansUnite,” Burton remarked. “We began a path of streamlining and focusing our business in 2022. With the UK continuing to tighten regulations on gaming operations, we felt it was time for FansUnite to exit the B2C space.

“We will be able to focus more resources on the segments of our business that offer the highest growth potential with good margins, specifically the US marketplace and affiliate opportunities.”

Dundee-based McBookie’s new owner has not been named, with FansUnite merely describing the buyer as an ‘arms length-third party’. There is a strong chance, however, that the buyer is another North America-based business or private investor.

This would mark a continuation of McBookie bucking the trend which has seen a range of European firms seek opportunities in the US and Canadian betting markets.

Europe-founded companies have entered the continent through organic licence acquisitions in the case of Betfred, bet365 and Fitzdares, acquisitions in the case of Flutter Entertainment and its FanDuel subsidiary, or joint ventures such as Entain’s BetMGM partnership with MGM Resorts.

However, FansUnite’s takeover of McBookie was an example of a North America based firm acquiring a brand and market share in the more established markets of Europe.

This is somewhat of a rarity, although MGM’s buyout of LeoVegas is a more recent example, and the firm has expressed an interest in acquiring its BetMGM partner Entain, as has rival DraftKings.

Although significantly scaling back its presence in the UK by selling McBookie, FansUnite will remain active in the market via its B2B arrangement with Welsh-focused DragonBetb, whilst its Askott Entertainment Inc and EGG brands secured licences back in 2021.

Regardless of the CA$2.2m profit from the sale, McBookie has proven a lucrative investment for FansUnite over its three year operating history with the group, as the brand recorded 2022 turnover of £45m, up 22% on corresponding 2021 results of £36.6m. 

“This sale will strengthen FansUnite’s balance sheet as the company moves towards being cash flow positive,” Burton continued.

“I want to thank Paul and Damian for their efforts while they were part of FansUnite and wish them well as they continue to grow the McBookie brand.”

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