In his first major interview since being appointed chief executive, Itai Pazner talks about M&A, the US opportunity and the beauty of owning bingo, casino, poker and - since yesterday - sports betting technology.
Itai Pazner is the new chief executive officer of 888 Holdings. He takes over from his good friend Itai Frieberger, who leaves the company after 16 years - the last eight as chief operating officer and chief executive officer.
Frieberger’s last significant announcement as CEO was the $28m deal to buy out joint venture partner Avenue Capital from the All American Poker Network. Pazner has continued along the same route with two M&A deals in quick succession - the £18m acquisition of the Mandalay bingo operations from JPJ Group and just yesterday, the £15m deal for sports betting company BetBright.
“We continue along the same strategic path that we laid down over a year ago [to find a solution to take control of our sports betting technology]. We have looked at four or five deals - some smaller, some bigger, some older, some newer - but this was something like love at first sight and the more we looked into the detail, the more we liked the deal,” says Pazner.