Never ones to rest on their laurels, the team behind LeoVegas has set its sights on world domination in 2018 and has set the ball rolling with two eye-catching acquisitions. The LeoVentures subsidiary, which is essentially the firm’s investment arm, has purchased a controlling majority stake in GameGrounds United AB, the outfit behind the CasinoGrounds.com streaming network.
The 51% stake has come with a whopping SEK 30m price tag (that’s Swedish Krona, worth roughly £2.7 million), with potential add-ons worth up to SEK 15m based on the performance of the platform in the first six months of this year. The brand confirms they expect to make the full payment based on early analysis.
The terms of the agreement also include a further option for 29% in additional shares to be purchased by LeoVentures in 2021-22, on the basis that the network is operating at 5x its profit line of 2017. This capture follows hot on the heels of LeoVegas’ decision to purchase gambling brand Royal Panda for €120m based on performance!
A continued surge towards ‘social’ gaming and streaming is predicted in 2018, and this latest move on the part of LeoVentures plays on that expectation to consolidate the brand’s future. The CasinoGrounds platform gained in popularity throughout 2017 and has proven to be a key facilitator in bringing together casino gamers and viewers via its community-based streaming network.
Contributors stream their feeds via YouTube and Twitch, keeping viewers entertained and acting as a key learning tool for punters to improve their own understanding of slots and table games alike. The success of the brand clearly did not escape LeoVentures after CasinoGrounds recorded revenue of some SEK 4m (roughly £360,000) in the third quarter of 2017 alone. Confirming the acquisition, LeoVegas’ Group CEO, Gustaf Hagman, said:
"In CasinoGrounds we see a new behaviour in which persons interested in casino are watching others play casino via YouTube and Twitch. CasinoGrounds has created a new niche through its live streaming and social platform, which are highly appreciated by players. The combination of proprietary content and the moving picture format create exciting opportunities going forward and is in line with LeoVegas' strategy to be an innovative and entrepreneur-driven company. LeoVegas has had successful cooperation with CasinoGrounds since 2016, and we know their team well. Our ambition is now to scale up existing operations to more markets.”
While the deal with CasinoGrounds will enable the LeoVegas brand to expand into exciting new territory in 2018, the acquisition of Royal Panda is one that will surely strengthen its position in the online casino industry. The Royal Panda brand secured revenue of a whopping €9.8 million in the third quarter of 2017.
Its extensive customer base and the lure of the BetConstruct-powered sportsbook are just two reasons why the LeoVentures team dusted off their cheques. The deal will see LeoVegas fork out an initial €60m to purchase the rights to Royal Panda’s products and services, with an additional €60m payable on future earnings.
Any acquisition of this nature can be considered a strategic move and it seems clear that the LeoVegas brand is seeking to penetrate the online sportsbook market yet further. Its statement upon announcing the purchase read:
"The acquisition of Royal Panda strengthens LeoVegas’ expansion in regulated gaming markets, especially in the UK, and adds a strong and exciting brand to the LeoVegas Group."
This is excellent news for punters, many of whom seek a sportsbook offering some kind of differentiation in a crowded marketplace (LeoVegas Sports is just that). And for LeoVegas this really is a positive step in disrupting the online bookmaker ‘status quo’ in the world, and UK specifically. Who knows where this journey will take them?
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