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Playtech confirms SKS365 Malta acquisition talks

| By Robert Fletcher
Playtech has confirmed it has opened talks over the potential acquisition of Italian-facing operator SKS365 Malta Holdings.
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News broke this morning that Playtech and Flutter have lodged bids for SKS365, the operator behind PlanetWin. The brand has a presence across both the online and land-based markets in Italy.

According to Sky News, sources close to the talks say the deal could be worth between £500.0m (€578.2m/$613.5m) and £600.0m. Italy’s Lottomatica is also said to be interested.

Playtech responds to acquisition reports

Neither Flutter nor Lottomatica have responded to the reports, but Playtech has put out a statement confirming talks.

“Following the recent media speculation, Playtech confirms that the group is currently participating in a process regarding the potential acquisition of SKS365 Malta Holdings,” Playtech said.

“Playtech is aware that there are other parties who are also participating in the process and who have expressed an interest in acquiring SKS. There can be no certainty that Playtech will be successful in the process nor that any transaction regarding the potential acquisition of SKS will be agreed. 

“Further announcements will be made as and when appropriate.”

Expanding market presence for Playtech

Playtech has been active in the Italian market for a number of years, and a deal with SKS365 would strengthen its operations.

Among its Italian-facing operations is Snaitech. In its Q2 results announcement, the business sounded out Snaitech as having performed well during the period, saying its retail presence is helping grow the online segment.

In terms of wider growth plans, Playtech earlier this year purchased a minority equity ownership stake in Hard Rock Digital (HRD). This operates as the interactive gaming and sports betting division of Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming.

The purchase formed part of a wider deal between the two businesses. HRD will also license a range of the developer’s technology solutions and igaming content.

Could Flutter build on MaxBet acquisition?

Although Flutter has not confirmed its interest, the reports come after Flutter this week did set out details of another acquisition.

Flutter has acquired an initial 51% stake in Serbian omnichannel sports betting and gaming operator MaxBet for €141.0m. Ranked among the leading operators in Serbia with an approximate 20% online share, MaxBet employs more than 2,400 staff.

The agreement also states that Flutter has the opportunity to acquire the remaining 49% in MaxBet in 2029.

Last year, Flutter also expanded its Italian presence by acquiring online gaming and lottery operator Sisal for €1.90bn in August 2022. In addition, it purchased bingo operator Tombola for £402.0m.

What about Lottomatica?

As for Lottomatica, which is also yet to respond to the reports, it last year also expanded in Italy.

The group in November agreed to purchase Italian online sports betting and casino operator Betflag for €310.0m. At the time, Lottomatica said the deal would help consolidate its presence in the Italian market, particularly strengthening online casino games.

Since then, Lottomatica has announced details of an initial public offering with a market capitalisation of €2.67bn.

Living in a buyer’s market

Should the SKS365 acquisition go through, it would represent the latest in a series of M&A deals in the industry.

LeoVegas recently finalised its purchase of Push Gaming, Ladbrokes Coral owner Entain has acquired Polish gaming operator STS, and Playtika this week acquired Innplay Labs.

In the US, Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FBG) has closed on the first eight states in its previously announced acquisition of PointsBet’s US business. Meanwhile, Glitnor Group struck a deal to acquire a 37.5% stake in New Jersey igaming operator PlayStar.

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