M&A News

London-listed GVC Holdings has strengthened its position in the Australian market with the acquisition of online betting operator Neds International.

Licensed in the Northern Territory, Neds is a relatively new entrant to the Australian betting market and only launched operations online last October.

Since then the operator has experienced rapid growth through a combination of effective marketing, proprietary technology and an experienced management team, led by executive chairman Dean Shannon. This year the business expects to achieve $1bn of wagers and gross gaming revenue of approximately $100m.

"Australia is a core market for the group and today's acquisition further strengthens our position,” said GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander. “Neds is an exciting business, with talented people and enables us to further grow market share through two differentiated brands."

GVC will acquire Neds for an initial AUD$68m (£37m), with a total maximum consideration of up to $95m. The company anticipates synergies from combining the respective operations of around $16m on an annualised basis which will be fully realised in 2021. The acquisition is expected to be earnings accretive from 2020.

The acquisition will complement GVC’s existing Ladbrokes Australia business, which operates under the Ladbrokes, Bookmaker and Betstar brands.

GVC said that the newly combined business will become a top three player in the market and represented a key development in the company’s ambition to be a market leader in Australia.

"GVC is a natural fit for the Neds business, we share the same entrepreneurial ideals, whilst delivering market leading products and service to our customers,” said Shannon, who previously founded Bookmaker.com.au which was sold to Ladbrokes in 2013.

Ladbrokes Australia CEO Jason Scott added: "I am thrilled to lead the Ladbrokes and Neds businesses. The transaction proves beyond all doubt that GVC is here to stay in the Australian market."

Shares in GVC Holdings plc (LSE:GVC) were trading at 775.61 pence per share in London Thursday morning, having hit a new 52-week low of 743.00p in trading yesterday.