888 completes acquisition of Mandalay from JPJ

13 March 2019

Online gaming operator 888 Holdings has completed the purchase of JPJ Group’s Mandalay operating business for £18m (€21.0m/$23.7m).

Announced last month, the deal will see London-listed 888 take full ownership of various bingo assets, including Costa Bingo, from JPJ subsidiaries Jet Management Group and Jet Media.

888 will pay an initial £12m to JPJ under the terms of the deal, with a further payment of £6m due in September.

Speaking last month, 888 CEO Itai Pazner said the purchase of Mandalay would support the operator’s strategy of expanding across global regulated markets, including the UK bingo sector.

“This expansion is underpinned by organic growth initiatives supported by exploring value-enhancing M&A,” Pazner said.

“Having been developed on Dragonfish, the Group’s first-class B2B platform, we are confident that consolidating these brands into our existing B2C portfolio will deliver synergies and growth opportunities by applying the full extent of 888’s core capabilities in product, marketing and customer relationship management to their operations.”

JPJ Group has also said the sale would allow it to develop a single-brand strategy in its core UK market, based around its flagship Jackpotjoy brand, which would optimise returns on marketing investment.

Shortly after announcing the Mandalay acquisition, 888 also confirmed that it has struck a deal to purchase Irish sports betting operator BetBright, including its proprietary platform, for £15m.

Earlier this week, 888 said that these two acquisition agreements will help the operator build on its success in 2018 and pursue further growth.

888 posted revenue of $540.6m for 2018, which is down 2% from $541.8m in the previous year, but earnings were up to record levels. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to $107.1m, up 6% on $100.7m in 2017.

Adjusted profit before tax was also up 11% to $86.7m, while 888 profit before tax was up from $18.8m to $108.7m. 888 put this down to exceptional income, compared to exceptional charges in 2017, as well as VAT accrual release and gain from re-measurement of previously held equity interest in joint ventures. Once taxes of $13.9m were paid, 888's net profit for the year stood at $94.8m.