Entain boosts Canadian presence with Avid Gaming acquisition

Entain plc has boosted its presence in Canada after acquiring Deis Ltd (Avid Gaming), the owner of sports betting brand Sports Interaction, for CAD$300m. 
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Entain plc has boosted its presence in Canada after acquiring Deis Ltd (Avid Gaming), the owner of Canadian online sports betting brand Sports Interaction, for CAD$300m from Middlebrook Investments Limited

Headquartered in Jersey (Channel Islands), with offices in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawà:ke and Ireland, the company exclusively licenses the betting brand’s trademark and provides proprietary online betting and gaming products and services to the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK) and the Mohawk Online socioeconomic initiative. MCK’s wholly-owned Mohawk Online operates Sports Interaction in Canada.

Alongside its Ontario license application, Entain says the acquisition offers further growth opportunities in line with its growth and sustainability strategy, noting that Sports Interaction’s sports-led offering complements its existing Canadian business of the Party and bwin brands. 

The gambling group added the acquisition will allow it to be able to provide its Canadian customers with a broader offering of engaging products and services, bringing its global scale, expertise, and platform together with the betting brand’s local expertise, capabilities, and partnerships. 

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain, stated: “Sports Interaction is the leading Canadian sports betting and gaming brand and is aligned perfectly with our own ambitions of great customer service and ambitious growth, coupled with an unwavering commitment to sustainability.

“It is highly complementary to our existing operations in Canada, and the combination of its local expertise and Entain’s powerful platform will provide customers with an unrivaled range of exciting and engaging products in this fast-growing market. We look forward to welcoming Will Golby and his team to Entain.

“Investing in the communities where we operate is a key pillar of Entain’s sustainability strategy. We are therefore delighted to be supporting the Mohawk Online socio-economic initiative.”

As part of the acquisition, Avid Gaming’s CEO Will Golby and other members of the company’s leadership team will transition to Entain.

Golby added: “We are delighted to be joining forces with Entain, which is an exceptional company combining world-class brands, strong leadership and a winning strategy. It has a unique approach to local markets, and no other company of its scale consistently delivers so many well-executed, localized approaches to the same level of customization and detail.

“Entain’s commitment to sustainability, responsible gaming and community investment aligns exactly with our own business philosophy, and we look forward to a bright future together.”

Entain will also continue to provide support to the socioeconomic efforts of the Mohawks of Kahnawà:ke through Sports Interaction’s relationship with Mohawk Online.

In line with economic principles adopted by Canada under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, revenues from Mohawk Online are invested back into the Kahnawà:ke community to deliver vital funding for cultural and language programs, schools, healthcare, and other public services. Half of Avid Gaming employees in Kahnawà:ke are Mohawk.

Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, Grand Chief of Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, said: “Entain is a world class operator with a genuine desire to positively contribute to the communities in which it operates.

“Kahnawà:ke is well known in the gaming industry, not only for our internationally recognized jurisdiction through the Kahnawà:ke Gaming Commission, but also for our socio-economic initiative, Mohawk Online.

“This new partnership between Entain and the Mohawks of Kahnawà:ke is mutually beneficial, and brings with it prime opportunity for bolstering our self-sufficiency through the continuing success of Sports Interaction.”

In recent years, Sports Interaction has undergone rapid growth, as its gross revenues improved by around 40% YoY in 2021 to CAD$76m, generating an EBITDA of CAD$18m and profits before tax of CAD$17.4m (after the contribution to the Kahnawà:ke community). As of 30 September 2021, it had gross assets of approximately CAD$41.0m.  

The deal is expected to yield roughly CAD$15m of synergies in 2023, mostly from technology, content, and procurement benefits, resulting in a post synergies acquisition multiple for Entain of approximately 7x 2023 EBITDA. Existing facilities have paid the consideration for the acquisition.

Last month, Entain launched its Ennovate innovation hub, funded with a $134m investment, to investigate emerging areas and collaborate with UK, European and global partners.