Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Evolution Given Approval For NetEnt Acquisition After Investigation

Evolution NetEnt Acquisition

Well-known game provider Evolution has been given the approval to complete its proposed acquisition of NetEnt.

Back in June 2020, NetEnt agreed to a SEK 19.6 billion acquisition offer from Evolution Gaming, a proposal that has already been given approval from the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority back in September. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) this week also approved Evolution’s proposed takeover of popular game developer NetEnt, two months after initially launching an investigation into the transaction.

As reported by SBC News, the CMA launched its investigation back in September to analyse whether the proposed acquisition would lessen the competition within the UK’s online gambling market. The CMA launched its investigation in response to concerns regarding the acquisition and eventual merger and invited comments on the acquisition by any interested parties, giving them until October 5th to submit anything.

After October 5th, the CMA launched the analysis stage of its investigation before conducting an assessment on whether or not it should continue to stage 2 of its investigation of a marketplace analysis or simply close the inquiry and accept Evolution’s proposed acquisition.

The CMA reportedly accepted the transaction, with Evolution, through SBC News, saying: “The CMA has today, on November 16, 2020, announced its approval of Evolution’s acquisition of NetEnt. Consequently, the condition regarding the receipt of all necessary competition approvals has been fulfilled.

“The other conditions for completion of the offer, which are included in the offer document that was published on August 20, 2020, remain unchanged and are still applicable. The acceptance period for the offer expires on November 20, 2020. Assuming that the offer is declared unconditional no later than around November 23, 2020, settlement is expected to commence around December 1, 2020. Evolution reserves the right to extend the acceptance period for the Offer and to postpone the settlement date.”

The acquisition will see Evolution, who had hoped to finalise the transaction on November 2, 2020, acquire 90% of NetEnt’s corporate shareholding at SEK 79.93per share. The group will most likely also acquire game developer Red Tiger Gaming which was bought by NetEnt back in 2019.

Speaking about the deal, Jens von Bahr, the Chairman for Evolution, said in a statement: This strategic deal marks a significant step towards Evolution’s long-term vision of becoming the global market leader in the online casino industry. The combination of Evolution’s strong offering in Live Casino with NetEnt’s leading position in online slots will result in a world-class portfolio of online games that will enable us to serve a growing customer base. Furthermore, NetEnt’s established US positioning combined with Evolution’s existing US studios and first-to-regulated market strategy will put us in a favourable position to capitalise on the on-going regulation in North America.”

Mathias Hedlund, the Chairman at NetEnt, added: “Recently, NetEnt has vastly improved its tech and product development capabilities and thereby its growth prospects and at the same time reaching a strong position within the US states that have opened up for online casino. With this deal, there are unique possibilities to shape a leading global B2B provider of online casino, taking advantage of the market development with continued digitalisation and strong growth, especially in North America.”

He continued: “Evolution’s position within Live Casino combined with NetEnt’s position within online slots will create a company well positioned to take significant market shares. Through this transaction, a new chapter in the development of more entertaining online casino begins, in the best interest of players, operators, employees, and shareholders.”

Buzz Bingo and Kindred Group’s 32Red Strike New Partnerships

While NetEnt and Evolution are busy working on the acquisition, gambling operator the Kindred Group and bingo operator Buzz Bingo both announced new partnerships.

This week, Buzz Bingo announced a brand new partnership with game developer Playzido. Under the agreement, Playzido will provide its entire selection of games, which includes MegaWays titles as well as its popular Deal Or No Deal games, to Buzz Bingo’s online websites. In addition, games from developers such as Reel Play, Plank Gaming, Bulletproof, and Endemol Shine Gaming will also be included under the deal, marking the first successful launch for Playzido after integrating with the Playtech Open Platform.

Meanwhile, the Kindred Group, the owner of betting site and online casino 32Red, announced that its extended its partnership with Derby County’s Community Trust and the Team Talk programme. As reported by CasinoCityTimes, the partnership extension has been undertaken by 32Red and the agreement will see the launch of a brand new research project in collaboration with the University of Derby which aims to understand the effectiveness of the Team Talk programme in light of COVID-19 challenges.

The research project will be led by Professor David Best and will feature a number of interviews and surveys with participants of the programme in addition to many other insights. The research will then be presented in a report at the end of 2021.

Neil Banbury, the General Manager UK at Kindred Group, said of the partnership: “The renewed investment means Derby County Community Trust can continue some of the fantastic work and results we saw from the first year of our partnership. To be able to work in partnership with University of Derby to develop a robust research and evaluation project that assesses the impact of the program on individual and community well-being will be very interesting.”

Simon Carnall, the Head of Community at Derby County Community Trust, added: “Following a successful first year, we are delighted that 32Red has recommitted to this project. The renewal of our partnership means we can now expand the program and reach many more men with mental health programs across the community over the coming year.”