XLMedia ‘ready to fully exploit’ North American market after strong 2021

XLMedia has published its FY2021 results, citing a 21% revenue increase YoY to $66.5m thanks to ‘acquisitive growth’ from its North American Sports vertical.
Image: Shutterstock

XLMedia has published its full-year 2021 financial results, citing a 21% revenue increase year-over-year to $66.5m (2020: $54.8m) thanks to ‘acquisitive growth’ from its North American Sports vertical. The uptick helped offset an anticipated revenue fall in the firm’s Casino vertical.

Reacting to the results, CEO Stuart Simms noted that the digital performance publisher is in ‘good shape’ and is ‘ready to fully exploit’ the North American market.

Broken down per vertical, Sports generated revenues of $31.4m (2020: $11.3m), driven by several US sports acquisitions. Its North American sports platform saw notable online traffic, growing to a year-end audience of 17.8 million unique monthly users. 

Personal Finance produced $8.7m in revenue (2020: $8.4m), European Casino assets yielded revenues of $23.2m (2020: $31.7m), while other legacy assets generated revenues of $3.1m (2020: $3.5m).

CEO Stuart Simms remarked: “We’ve made great progress in North America during 2021 alongside delivering important organizational changes to both rationalize and ring-fence legacy areas of our business.”

Operating expenses for XLMedia in 2021 were $40.7m, a 12% increase YoY (2020: $36.2m) reflecting costs associated with M&A activity and restructuring.

Meanwhile, sales and marketing expenses came in at $14.8m, a 51% rise YoY (2020: $9.8m) which the firm put down to the North American Sports network model differing from the owned and operated model. The firm reported an operating profit of $3.9m (2020: $0.1m).

The digital performance publisher’s adjusted EBITDA for 2021 was $17.9m, or 27% of revenues (2020: $12.2m/22.2% of revenues), a 47% YoY improvement mainly due to the increase in revenues.

XLMedia’s adjusted profit before tax saw a 97% rise to $10.5m (2020: $5.3m), with a reported profit before tax of $4m (2020: $1.1m), and cash and short-term investments of $24.6m (2020: $13.9m).

“In 2021, the group evolved its operational capabilities – upskilling and realigning our global workforce to better match strategy and generate new future growth,” stated Interim Chair Julie Markey.

“I’m proud of our people for driving through a period of significant change including having to navigate continued restrictions relating to the Covid pandemic. The business is becoming more agile and responsive so that it can fully exploit new opportunities.”

Throughout the year, XLMedia has grown its presence across North America, with coverage across 15 states where online sports wagering is legal, as well as in US states and Canadian provinces that are soon to legalize.

The firm also successfully integrated two US sports acquisitions – Sports Betting Dime and Saturday Inc – with its CBWG assets and team.

The digital performance publisher has also recently appointed Caroline Ackroyd as its new CFO and as a member of its Board of Directors.

On the outlook, XLMedia noted that the current trading for 2022 is in-line with management expectations, adding that the North American Sports vertical is a key growth, profit, and cash driver for the group and is off to a strong start in 2022.

Simms commented: “We set out to become a significant player in North American Sports – in line with our strategy to pursue high growth, large, regulated markets – we’re now in really good shape, with strong geographical coverage and capability, ready to fully exploit this significant market opportunity.”