Following a series of departures from the firm’s Board, Kindred Group is reportedly accelerating plans for a potential sale of the company to a larger gambling conglomerate.
Bloomberg reports that the Stockholm-listed 32Red and Unibet parent company is evaluating merger or sale options with Morgan Stanely, PJT Partners Inc and Canaccord Genuity Group.
The business news outlet further asserts that Kindred has approached fellow European firms Entain, Flutter Entertainment and Evolution, as well as US entertainment giant MGM Resorts International.
A potential merger or sale of Kindred has been on the agenda since the publication of the firm’s Q1 trading results in April 2023. The company stated at the time that it would evaluate options as it seeks alternative sources of revenue.
The announcement came around a month before the raft of departures from the operator’s senior leadership. Chief Financial Officer Johan Wilsby was the first to announce his exit from the group, planned for later this year.
The most significant move was the confirmation that CEO Henrik Tjärnström would step down after 14 years with Kindred, replaced by Nils Andén as interim CEO. Andén will now be responsible for coordinating any merger or sale negotiations and processes, as well as achieving the company’s 2023 targets.
Lastly, upon completion of an operational review, it was announced that Chief Marketing Officer Elen Barber and Chief Commercial Officer Anne-Jaap Snijders would step down in Autumn. Kindred stressed that this was unrelated to the departure of Tjärnström.
In the weeks since, Anders Ström – who founded Unibet Group, prior to its rebranding as Kindred – has argued that a merger or sale is the best course of action for Kindred, which he said is ‘too small to survive’.
It is unclear which areas of Kindred’s business the aforementioned prospective suitors would be interested in. Entain and Flutter have been no strangers to M&A in recent years, with the former having bought out the ikes of SuperSport and Sportsflare, among others, and the latter purchasing Sisal.
However, both have extensive betting and gaming holdings across various markets, including many where Kindred’s Unibet and 32Red are active, so it’s hard to say whether the FTSE100 firms would be interested in either brand.
Meanwhile, in the US, American firms purchasing established European bookmakers is also not an unusual phenomenon. Caesars Entertainment’s purchasing of William Hill in 2021 to strengthen its standing in the growing US online betting space is perhaps the best example of this.
As Kindred has launched its proprietary tech in New Jersey and secured a tribal casino sportsbook partnership in Washington, and MGM has previously expressed interest in purchasing European giant Entain, there could be potential here should Bloomberg’s reports prove accurate later this year.