Entain seals SuperSport acquisition and insists M&A still more compelling than share buybacks

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Entain has completed the acquisition of SuperSport, the leading gaming and sportsbook operator in Croatia.

The deal, which values SuperSport at an estimated €920m, was first announced in August, when Entain partnered with investment firm EMMA Capital to establish Entain CEE, a strategic platform to drive growth and expansion in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

Entain expects the acquisition to be mid-single digit earnings accretive in its first full year, with cost synergies of €5m per year expected to be delivered in full by 2024.

SuperSport has an estimated 50% GGR market share in the regulated Croatian market, according to Entain. It offers both sports betting and iGaming via a proprietary technology solution.

Entain CEE is led by SuperSport CEO Radim Haluza, who has significant experience in a market now considered a €5bn opportunity for regulated betting and iGaming.

Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Anderson said: “SuperSport expands our operations into the highly attractive and regulated Croatian market, as well as establishing Entain CEE as a strategic growth platform into the wider region.

“We look forward to working with Radim and the SuperSport team alongside EMMA Capital as we execute on this exciting opportunity,” she added.

Entain CFO Rob Wood: “I think the simple answer is that we will look at a share buyback alternative every time we pull the trigger on another piece of M&A.”

Last month, Entain announced the issuance of a $1bn new term loan that will be partially used to finance the acquisition of SuperSport, as well as the purchase of Dutch operator BetCity.

On the operator’s Q3 earnings call in November, one analyst asked whether M&A was still likely to provide a more compelling ROI than executing a share buyback.

At the time, CFO Rob Wood said the SuperSport acquisition was a very real example of that exact consideration.

“As you’d expect, we studied both very carefully and discussed it as a board. What it comes down to are two main considerations really, what’s best for the business strategically, and what’s best for the business economically.

“When we studied the numbers, we found that on an economic basis, SuperSport and M&A still came out on top relative to the largest share buyback that we could realistically do, so M&A was still more compelling.

“Then from a strategic perspective, there’s no doubt that investing into Central and Eastern Europe and creating a platform for further growth through that region was preferable.

“I think the simple answer is that we will look at a share buyback alternative every time we pull the trigger on another piece of M&A, but even in the current [economic] environment, as was still the case in August if you remember, the M&A opportunity came out on top,” he added.

About the author

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Jake Evans

Jake Evans is an NCTJ-accredited journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and sports betting industry since 2017. He is the managing editor of iGaming NEXT and has previously worked in both content and data for EGR, Stats Perform and Football Radar.

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