In a hugely significant move that presages a major expansion into Central and Eastern Europe, Entain, the Pride of British Betting, has bought a majority stake in online Croatian market leader SuperSport for €690 million (£585.77m/US$709.87m).
“This morning, we announced the news about the exciting formation of Entain CEE and the acquisition of SuperSport.hr, the market-leading betting and gaming brand in Croatia,” Entain boss Jette Nygaard-Andersen confirmed in a statement.
“We [have] set out our ambition in the region,” continued the Danish CEO.
“[This] is a serious opportunity to expand across the region beyond the SuperSport deal…to power our growth journey in Central and Eastern Europe.”
In partnership with Czech investment firm EMMA Capital, Entain has created a new vehicle, Entain CEE, to drive investment in the Balkans and former Communist block.
FTSE-100 Entain–which owns, or co-owns, a plethora of top international betting brands, among them bwin, Ladbrokes Coral, PartyPoker, Sportingbet and BetMGM in the United States—will have a controlling 75 per cent stake in Entain CEE, which, in turn, will own SuperSport.
“This bespoke structure will allow Entain to join with further leading local operators through Entain CEE to continue to grow this unique platform across the region,” explained the Isle-of-Man-headquartered Omnichannel.
Pavel Horák, EMMA’s Chief Investment Officer, said Entain was uniquely positioned to exploit the riches of the CEE region.
“[We] are very happy to be partnering with the leading global betting, gaming and interactive entertainment business to unlock the opportunity posed by the CEE betting and gaming market,” he said.
“We see the Entain CEE structure as a clear opportunity for creating value for shareholders, and we look forward to working closely and collaboratively with Entain.”
Entain’s acquisition is being underwritten by a consortium of international banks, among them Lloyds, Nat West and Banco Santander.
Added Nygaard-Andersen said. “We see Croatia as an exciting, dynamic country which Entain CEE is perfectly positioned to expand from.
“We are very much looking forward to growing our business responsibly within the country and the region.”