Entain completes acquisition of Unikrn esports assets

| By Robert Fletcher
Entain has completed its acquisition of the technology, products, platform, and brand of esports-focused operator Unikrn.
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Financial terms of the deal, which was announced in August, remain undisclosed, but Entain said the agreement paves the way for it to launch new esports products in 2022.

Entain said Unikrn’s 50-strong international team of staff would stay with the business and spearhead its esports launch on a global scale.  

Justin Dellario, who recently joined Entain from Twitch as managing director of Esports, will head up Entain’s expansion within the esports market.

“Entain is all about creating exciting and innovative products for our customers,” Dellario said. “With Unikrn, we’ll now be able to offer competitive gamers and esports fans alike rewarding experiences surrounding the games and events they love.

Founded in 2014 as an esports betting operator, Unikrn offers a range of products including U-Mode that allows gamers to bet on their own ranked matches, as well as Streamer Bet, Unikrn’s AI-powered real-time for updating odds for betting on Twitch streams.

The acquisition will see Entain extend its safer gaming initiatives and player protections to new customers across skills-based wagering in sports and interactive entertainment products. 

In addition, Entain, via its not-for-profit Entain Foundation, has forged partnerships with external organisations to provide education and support to players at potential risk of gaming disorder in esports, including the Counter-Strike Professional Players Association, which represents professional players across esports.

The deal comes after Entain last month also confirmed it had received a takeover proposal from US betting giant DraftKings.

After an initial bid was rejected by Entain, DraftKings returned with a new proposal of £28.00 per share, which would comprise a cash portion of £6.30, with the rest made up of Class A common shares, and represented a 46.2% premium on Entain’s closing share price on 20 September.

Based on the 585,591,361 Entain shares in issue as of 30 June 2021, this would value the business at £16.40bn.

This week, Entain reported a 4% year-on-year increase in group net gaming revenue for the third quarter of its 2021 financial year. putting this down primarily to growth in its online sports betting division.

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