Home > Finance > GoldBet takeover strengthens Gamenet’s Italian portfolio

GoldBet takeover strengthens Gamenet’s Italian portfolio

| By iGB Editorial Team
Deal will significantly boost retail proposition, but expert is cautious of online impact

Italian gaming group Gamenet today (Tuesday) announced a €265m (£240m/$310m) deal to acquire betting operator GoldBet in a transaction that one expert believes will allow the combined entity to become a “clear leader” in traditional betting products in the country.

Gamenet will acquire 100% of GoldBet, which operates nearly 1,000 betting shops in Italy and generated earnings before interest and deductions of €40m in 2017. The combined service will offer approximately 1,700 betting points across the country, representing Italy’s largest retail network.

“This transaction represents a major opportunity for the two companies and will allow us to exploit the synergies and knowhow of both companies,” GoldBet CEO Paola Bausano said.

Gamenet chief executive Guglielmo Angelozzi added that the transaction would allow the company to expand its services in a number of verticals.

The combined business will have a 21% share of the retail betting market and a 33% share of the virtual sector, with Regulus Partners’ Paul Leyland stating in an update that the deal will allow the merged entity to become a “clear leader in more traditional betting products and channels”.

However, Leyland added a note of caution with regard to the internet proposition of the combined business, with GoldBet and Gamenet currently only occupying 3.8% and 3.1% of the country’s online market share respectively.

“Online the combined entity’s total market share is only 7% overall and 11% in betting,” Leyland stated. “This makes it a credible No.4 in betting behind bet365, SKS365 and GVC, but still stuck in the mid-tier of a stubbornly fragmented Italian online market, with neither side bringing anything to break out of this, in our view.”

The note added that overall growth in the country’s gaming sector is “being powered first and foremost by online”, notwithstanding the recently-introduced ban on gambling promotions and advertising.

However, online still represents a relatively small proportion of Italy’s commercial gambling revenue, with approximately 20% of the market in comparison with 80% for machines.

“Combinations with very high machine exposure and relatively limited domestic online capabilities still remain challenged, in our view,” Leyland added. “Conversely, it is telling that all of the top four online businesses in Italy – Stars, SKS365, bet365 and GVC – are online-led and none has material machine exposure.”

At iGB Live! in Amsterdam last week, Ficom Leisure senior partner Christian Tirabassi warned that operators that do not have an established land-based presence in Italy are likely to endure a brutal impact as a result of the newly introduced legislation in the country.

Leyland added that Goldbet has been “an impressive mover into Africa in recent years, especially Nigeria, under the Betin brand”, but added: “No mention of this is made in the press release and the EBITDA figures suggest only the Italian business is being acquired.”

Picture Credit: Bert Kaufmann 

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