Stockholm-listed online gaming operator Unibet has agreed a deal to acquire Gibraltar-based operator Stan James Online.

The proposed acquisition, which excludes Stan James' UK retail business, will strengthen Unibet's position in the regulated UK online gaming market, which is expected to be worth £2.7bn in 2015 according to H2GC.

The £19m acquisition (approx. 6x EBITDA) will be payable fully in cash with an adjustment for customer liabilities, and is expected to close in the latter part of the third quarter, subject to regulatory approval.

Upon completion, Stan James Online's 150 Gibraltar-based employees will transfer their employment to Unibet.

Commenting on the proposed acquisition, Unibet chief executive Henrik Tjärnström said: “We have long been looking at strengthening our position in the UK online market. Stan James as an operator is one of the most well-respected in the UK market with particular strengths in horse-racing and other British sports. Stan James has had a long presence in the British market where there are few companies of this size available for acquisition."

Tjärnström added that with Unibet only recently targeting the UK market, there is little overlap between the respective businesses.

In the first five months of 2015, Stan James Online generated gross wagering revenue of £10.5m, with EBITDA of £1.4m after deduction of UK point of consumption tax.

"We are delighted to join the wider Unibet group," said Stan James Online CEO Denis Kelly. "There is a substantial market opportunity in the UK following the re-regulation. Through the combination of Unibet’s expertise in marketing and financial strength, together with Stan James’ high quality sports and racing betting offering aimed at the UK market, I am confident that we can increase substantially the combined Group’s market share in the UK."

Shares in Unibet Group plc (Co. Data) (STO:UNIB) closed in Stockholm Thursday, prior to the announcement, up 2.59 per cent at SEK514.00 per share.

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