Relax Gaming: a sit down with Henrik Tjärnström and Tommi Maijala

Mon, 26 Jul, 2021

Kindred has signed an agreement to acquire the remaining outstanding shares in Relax Gaming, a leading and rapidly growing B2B iGaming supplier. Relax Gaming currently supplies poker and bingo content on an exclusive basis to Kindred, along with high-quality casino content. Kindred’s ambition is to continue investing in Relax Gaming to cement its position as a leading B2B iGaming supplier by further strengthening Relax Gaming’s product offering and by broadening its B2B customer base.

We were fortunate to catch up with Tommi Maijala, CEO Relax Gaming and Henrik Tjärnström, CEO Kindred Group and had them answer some questions.

Tommi, first of all, we are all so happy to welcome Relax Gaming on board. What were your initial thoughts?

Tommi: We have shared a long history with Kindred throughout the years and have always shared a common vision in respect to product development for our Bingo and Poker products. The casino vertical has been an exciting growth area and offers a fantastic platform for further development and opportunity to Kindred. We are excited to be joining the Kindred family and look forward to our continued successes together.

And Henrik, why has Kindred decided to acquire Relax Gaming? 

Henrik: Relax Gaming has been on a fantastic journey over the last couple of years, building a strong team and established itself as a leading B2B supplier with a world-class product portfolio. Kindred has a long-standing relationship with Relax Gaming and we have been investing in the company since 2013. It felt natural to initiate a dialogue with the owners of Relax Gaming when we started to look at different assets that could strengthen our product and customer experience, which is part of our core strategy

The acquisition of Relax gaming will strengthen our product offering and increase our ability to differentiate the customer experience, while also providing significant synergies. It will also enable us to leapfrog the time-consuming process of building a games development capability, putting us in a strong position to achieve our long-term strategic objectives.

What have the reactions been so far, from your individual perspectives?

Tommi: Kindred’s acquisition has been very positively received by our staff, customers and partners, which has been fantastic. Many have seen this as a natural extension of the development and growth Relax has been experiencing and are excited to see what the future holds.

Henrik: The news of Kindred’s acquisition of Relax Gaming has been well received. Relax Gaming will be kept as a separate business, hence it will be business as usual for Relax Gaming’s partners and customers. For Kindred, we intend to maintain our relations with our suppliers and thereby give our customers a first-class experience.

Tommi, what will be the most significant change for Relax?

Tommi: There will likely be limited changes for Relax in many respects given our B2B nature. Naturally, there are synergies of the two companies that we can optimise together. Being part of Kindred will provide us with new growth opportunities. For our customers, this translates into new exciting products and a continued long-term commitment to customer satisfaction. It will also accelerate our growth and ensure long-term financial stability.

What will be the benefit for your respective companies?

Tommi: Relax, as a smaller company, can naturally benefit from the size, scale and infrastructure that Kindred has to offer, whilst also allowing for more in-depth and customised solutions for Kindred as we develop. As mentioned in the press releases and presentations, we see the benefits of taking Relax from a more European supplier to a truly global company with great growth ambitions.

Henrik: The acquisition of Relax Gaming will enhance our product differentiation capabilities and take full control of our Poker and Bingo products which have been provided by Relax gaming on an exclusive basis for Kindred. We also see an opportunity to offer our customers more unique content across our gaming verticles (casino, poker and bingo), allowing us to build a closer and more trusted relationship with them. Another important benefit we see is the untapped potential in the US. We are just starting our journey there and a closer relationship with Relax will help us build our presence, in what is one of the largest regulated markets in the world. It will also help bring Relax into this important market. On top of that, we see significant synergies between our respective companies. 

What is it you value the most in Kindred and Relax respectively?

Henrik: Relax Gaming has a strong team and culture, which I believe is the most valuable asset in any company. The company has got a highly experienced management team that we know personally and who are committed to future success, as they will remain with a meaningful shareholding in the company. This gives me confidence that we can continue to grow the business.

Tommi: Relax and Kindred share a very common culture and passion for development to be a key market leader in the gaming industry. The positive growth of both companies is driven by the fantastic people we both have on all levels. Employees are the true key driver of a company and we are proud to be joining an industry-renowned player with a fantastic reputation.

Relax will remain as an independent company within Kindred. Why is this?

 Tommi: While we share an exclusive development strategy for Bingo and Poker, Relax is a casino and content aggregation provider, servicing over 500+ brands. Our growth is also dependent on a degree of impartiality and operational independence to ensure we can maximise the network potential. Whilst we can develop and grow specifically for Kindred, we also have the benefit of developing a world-class B2B platform and provide service for a broad array of customers.

In what way does this acquisition help accelerate Kindred’s long-term strategy, as eluded to in previous communications?

Henrik: This is an important acquisition, as it accelerates our strategy to increase our focus on product and customer experience. We will achieve this by strengthening our product control and giving us the ability to develop our own proprietary product portfolio in an optimal way. By combining a leader in B2B with a leader in B2C, we create a very strong group both, operationally and financially. A group that has what it takes to sustain growth. This means we can provide our customers with unique content that sets us apart from our competitors.