·Significantly broadened market coverage in France and Belgium
·Close commercial fit and strong market synergies
·Excellent growth potential
·Acquisition value of GBP 75.9 million
·Extraordinary Shareholders’ meeting to take place on 12 September 2005
Unibet Group plc today announces that it has acquired 100 per cent of Global Leisure Partners Ltd, the parent company of the sports betting company MrBookmaker.com.
The acquisition price is GBP 75.9 million, payable as GBP 22.25 million cash up front, loan notes to a value of GBP 22.25 million and, on the Board’s recommendation, subject to shareholders’ approval, 2,400,000 newly issued shares in Unibet Group plc, (based on a share price of SEK 180).
These newly issued shares are subject to a lock up arrangement for 12 months.
The transaction is made on a cash- and debt-free basis.
Today, Friday 19 August 2005, Unibet’s CEO Petter Nylander will host a telephone conference. The conference will start at 14.00 CET. Please call in on
telephone number +44 (0)20 7365 1854.
We kindly ask participants to call in 5 to 10 minutes in advance.
MrBookmaker.com is one of the leading online betting companies for sporting events in France and Belgium. Founded in 2000, MrBookmaker.com is a private company, owned by management and Belgian venture capital funds. The head office is located in Malta.
In 2004, MrBookmaker.com had a turnover of EUR 48.6m, gross winnings of EUR 8.8m and a profit from operations of EUR 4.1m. For the first 6 months of 2005, turnover was EUR 42.0m, gross winnings EUR 9.2m and profit from operations EUR 4.8m.
MrBookmaker.com is a well-established and profitable European betting company with a strong focus on France and Belgium.
As of 30 June 2005, MrBookmaker.com had 300,000 registered customers and 32,000 active sports betting customers.
Unibet has previously announced its intention to establish itself in certain important European markets outside the Nordic region. The acquisition of MrBookmaker.com achieves this aim and provides Unibet with a well established and respected marketing and customer infrastructure in each of its key countries.
The acquisition will results in substantial cross-selling opportunities, as Unibet’s main market is the Nordic area where MrBookmaker.com does not have any presence. Product synergies are substantial as Unibet’s products can now be marketed in several new markets whilst at the same time, Unibet’s organisation can market MrBookmaker.com’s virtual games, soft games and betting products in the Nordic countries. The combined company will also establish itself as a leading online operator in Western Europe.
MrBookmaker.com has 48 employees and the aim is to integrate the two entities in order to quickly obtain the full benefit of the synergies.
The management team of MrBookmaker.com will have leading positions in Unibet.
”Unibet/MrBookmaker.com will become one of the leading European Gambling companies. The combined company, with its pan-European coverage, will also be an attractive partner for further expansion. The new group ensures a long-term and wise industrial solution that will create value for shareholders, customers and employees”, says Petter Nylander, CEO of Unibet Group plc.
”There is a very good fit between MrBookmaker.com and Unibet, which was an important factor in determining the partnership. Many companies have shown great interest in acquiring MrBookmaker.com. The main driver was the compelling industrial fit between the companies plus a strong preference from the MrBookmaker.com management for Unibet, being a successful and well-managed company with industrial competence” says Didier Dewyn, CEO of MrBookmaker.com.
Financing and timetable
Signing and closing of the transaction took place today, and MrBookmaker.com will be consolidated with effect from today. The part of the financing consisting of the new shares is conditional on an Extraordinary Shareholders’ meeting of Unibet Group plc to approve the issue of the new shares, which is planned to take place on 12 September 2005.
To enable this transaction and be able to pay part of the acquisition price with newly issued shares, which is the Board’s recommendation, the Board has been assured that a number of the major shareholders of Unibet, including Anders Ström and ITP-invest, together representing more than 50 per cent of the share capital of Unibet, will vote in favour of the share issue at the Extraordinary General Meeting.
If the share issue cannot be completed as part of the financing, Unibet shall pay this part of the consideration in the form of a loan note, corresponding to a value of 105 per cent of the average market price of the shares (2,400,000) in the 30 days prior to 22 September 2005. This loan note would have a duration of 12 months and would carry interest of 7.6 per cent per annum.
Payment of the cash consideration for the acquisition of MrBookmaker.com has been made on entering the acquisition agreement. The loan note of GBP 22.25m has a duration of 10 months and carries interest of 3.8 per cent per annum.