Netplaytv Acquires E-gaming Division Of Sportech


31st October, 2013 at 03:29:01

Strategic acquisition of Vernons will enhance NetPlay's scale and product offering

The UK interactive television gambling group NetPlayTV has purchased Vernons, the e-gaming division of Sportech plc, from Sportech (Alderney) Limited.

Vernons operates an online casino (see the casino directory for specific information on Vernons casino and current NetPlayTV casino offerings, bingo, poker and sports book, and the acquisition includes the brand, customer database of 367,000 players and various other gaming assets.

The purchase, through the group's subsidiary NetPlayTV Group Limited in Alderney, is for a total consideration of 3 million, which will be satisfied in cash from NetPlay's cash resources, a spokesman revealed Thursday.

In addition, Sportech has agreed to contribute 100,0000 towards NetPlay's restructuring and integration costs which will be settled in full, in cash, on completion.

The significant synergy opportunities will ensure efficient integration and immediate profitability, the spokesman said. Vernons draws the majority of its revenue from online casino, operates on the same software platform as NetPlay, and both parties have operations in Guernsey.

The acquisition provides the Group with further product differentiation, and it will cross market its existing live roulette TV product by offering it to Vernons' customer database post integration. In addition, the Group has signed a memorandum of understanding which will enable it to offer Sportech's football pools to NetPlay's customer base.

Vernons achieved an operating profit in the 12 months ended 31 December 2012 of 1.1 million on total revenue of 4.8 million. In the six months ended 30 June 2013, Vernons made an operating loss of 700,000 on total revenue of 2.8 million.

Commenting on the acquisition, Charles Butler, CEO at NetPlay said:

"The acquisition, which will be immediately earnings enhancing, fits very well with the Group's core business, adds scale and customer reach, and will be integrated quickly and efficiently to realise the excellent operational synergies.

"This represents the acceleration of our strategy to grow through both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. We look forward to investing further in our proven marketing strategy for alongside our existing brands and continuing to drive value for shareholders."

A Sportech statement said that following a detailed strategic review of the e-gaming division over the last six months, Sportech's management had concluded that the operation is not of sufficient scale and that Sportech would need to invest further or acquire additional e-gaming assets to derive an acceptable financial return.

"Given the investment opportunities in other parts of the business, including those presented by US online regulation and our exclusive horseracing betting platform in Connecticut, the Board have decided to sell our e-gaming business to a more focused and larger e-gaming operator which can grow the customer base and better mitigate the impact of UK Point of Consumption tax when implemented in December 2014," the statement said.

Ian Penrose, CEO of Sportech, said:

"Our loss making Vernons casino, poker and bingo business has had a difficult year, and the impending introduction of Point of Consumption tax next year increases the challenges ahead for a sub scale operation in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

"We are delighted to have realised 3 million in cash for the sale to NetPlay, who will be able to combine increased scale and market leading interactive gaming television skills to take the business forward."


As far as online casino players go, AZOC believes the move should be welcomed. Like NetPlayTV's own properties, Vernons is a Playtech-powered casino but while testing for it proved a disappointing experience and I didn't last long. The focus seemed to be more on making as much money from the customer as fast as possible as opposed to providing a good customer experience and a long-term view to engaging loyalty.

Conversely, NetPlayTV have demonstrated a more consumer-friendly approach and have consistently scored higher for the customer experience.

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