Caroline Ackroyd to relinquish role as CFO at XLMedia

XLMedia CFO Resigns
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A major digital sports betting and gaming affiliate is undergoing a leadership change.

XLMedia — the owner of Sports Betting Dime and WhichBingo — has announced that Chief Financial Officer and board director Caroline Ackroyd plans to resign from her position to pursue a new opportunity in the gambling industry. Ackroyd, who was appointed as CFO in 2021, will remain with XL Media until March 31. XLMedia has already begun its search for a new CFO.

“Caroline has made a considerable contribution to XLMedia over the past two years,” said XLMedia Chair Marcus Rich in a statement. “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank her for this, and to offer her our best wishes for the future.”

Ackroyd’s resignation from XLMedia follows a corporate reorganization last year. XLMedia downsized its media portfolio with the sale of all non-core media assets allowing the publisher to shift its focus solely toward iGaming properties. As a result, XLMedia reduced its workforce by 14%.

XLMedia’s decision to reorganize came amid lackluster financial results. The company generated $29.4 million in total group revenue in H1 2023 — down from $44.5 million for the same period last year. XLMedia’s adjusted EBITDA in H1 2023 reached $6.5 million compared to $10.6 million in H1 2022. XLMedia also reported stunted growth in its sports vertical business in H1 2023. The sector reported $21.4 million in revenue for the first half of 2023, down from $34 million in H1 2022. The first half of 2022 saw sports betting go live in New York, which quickly emerged as America’s largest online gaming market.

XLMedia failed to reach similar results in H1 2023 with the opening of new regulated markets, which included Ohio and Massachusetts. Those jurisdictions have increased XLMedia’s reach as a sports betting business to 19 states. It expects results to improve in H2 2023 behind the NFL season and Kentucky’s new sports betting market.

XLMedia was also impacted in H1 2023 by Penn Entertainment’s sale of Barstool Sportsbook, which was a major partner of XLMedia. Penn sold Barstool back to its original owner Dave Portnoy in August 2023 for $1 and later launched ESPN Bet in partnership with the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.” ESPN Bet went live in November 2023 as part of a deal with Penn that is worth $1.5 billion in cash with a potential $500 million in stock warrants.

XLMedia expects the launch of ESPN Bet to bolster revenue results in North America for H2 2023 but the company will still fail to reach revenue expectations given the lack of Barstool revenue during H2. It projects full-year group revenue for FY2023 to range between $50 million and $52 million with an adjusted EBITDA between $12 million and $14 million.