NeoGames submits SEK4.3bn takeover offer for Aspire Global

| By Robert Fletcher
Online lottery platform provider NeoGames has commenced a public offer worth SEK4.3bn (£349.0m/€417.6m/$476.0m) to acquire 100% of the shares in Aspire Global.
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The proposal comprises a combination of cash for 50% of Aspire Global shares at a price of SEK111 per share, and equity consideration for the remaining 50%, consisting of 7.6 million newly issued shares in NeoGames.

NeoGames said that Aspire Global shareholders, who in aggregate own 67.0% of Aspire Global’s outstanding shares, have elected to accept the offer and will elect to receive up to 100% of the 7.6 million offered NeoGames shares.

A bid committee of independent Aspire Global directors, formed in response to the offer, has also unanimously recommended shareholders accept the offer.

When submitting the offer, NeoGames said the combination of the two businesses would result in the creation of a “leading global provider in interactive content, proprietary technology and operations across all elements of ilottery, online sports betting and igaming verticals”.

It also said the acquisition would provide strategic opportunities for the combined business to further accelerate and diversify into new areas and regions, including Latin America and Africa, as well as bolster its position in existing markets such as the US.

According to NeoGames, other benefits for the business would include strengthened management expertise and company structure, as well as a commitment to continued, profitable growth.  

“As we have shared previously, we embarked on a process to identify external growth opportunities in areas we thought could solidify our standing as a leader in providing digital solutions to lotteries globally,” NeoGames chief executive Moti Malul said. 

“As more and more lotteries globally converge into additional gaming verticals such as online sports betting and igaming operations, the ability to provide a wide range of products, combined with experience in their operations, is becoming increasingly important.

“By integrating our market-leading platform and scalable position within the rapidly expanding global ilottery market with Aspire Global’s proprietary sports betting platform, BtoBet; its igaming content and aggregation platform, Pariplay; and its proprietary content and turnkey B2B gaming solutions, NeoGames will be positioned to significantly increase our addressable market opportunities.”

Should the acquisition go ahead as expected, the combined business would be led by Malul as chief executive, while Raviv Adler, currently chief financial officer at NeoGames, would remain in this role.

Tsachi Maimon, chief executive of Aspire Global, is expected join NeoGames as president and lead the newly formed igaming division, while the current board of directors of NeoGames is expected to remain unchanged.

“In recent years Aspire Global has had an amazing journey,” Maimon said. “We have seen substantial organic growth supplemented by value creating acquisitions. 

“This transaction is the natural next step for our company, as we further enhance our scale and competitive position across all business lines. The objective of the combination is to generate significant long-term value for both sets of shareholders, by synergistically capitalising on the key strengths of our two platforms and positioning them both for expansion in new and existing markets.

“Not only is this a strategic fit, it is also a strong cultural fit, as significant parts of both management teams worked together extensively during NeoGames’ inception.”

An offer document outlining full details of the proposals is due to be published on or about 4 April this year, with the acceptance period set to run from this date through to 3 May. The expected settlement date is to be on or about 17 May.

Subject to certain regulatory approvals – the receipt of valid tenders of not less than 90% of Aspire Global’s shares and customary closing conditions – the acquisition is expected to complete during the first half of 2022.

The offer comes after sports wagering technology provider Esports Technologies last month completed its acquisition of Aspire Global’s B2C business for $75.9m.

The deal, which was first agreed in October 2021, saw Esports Technologies take ownership of Aspire’s B2C online content portfolio and sportsbook brands. Aspire will run backend operations for the acquired brands, which include Karamba, Hopa and BetTarget.

Aspire Global last month also agreed to acquire a 25% stake in bingo supplier End 2 End for $1.7m, with the option to acquire the rest of the its shares in up to five years’ time.

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