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26th February, 2015 at 10:18:40
Recently acquired Big Fish Games delivers an impressive performance, but interest payments weigh on profits.
Big Fish Games, a Seattle-based social gaming company acquired late last year by Churchill Downs Inc., for $13.9 million (see previous reports) turned in an impressive performance in the fourth quarter and FY results posted by CDI this week.
Big Fish generated Adjusted EBITDA of $3.8 million since acquisition. Including the pre-acquisition results, Big Fish increased total bookings by $23.9 million, or 33 percent, driven by a $22.7 million, or 94 percent, increase in Casino.
The gains were driven by a 77% increase in quarterly average paying users and a 9% increase in average bookings per paying user compared to the fourth-quarter of 2013. Partially offsetting this increase was a $9.6 million, or 23% decline in Premium Paid business driven by customers continuing to shift from paid PC games to mobile free-to-play games along with a strengthening USA dollar. Free-to-play Casual bookings jumped $10.8 million on the successful introduction of Gummy Drop! on iOS in the third-quarter and Android in the fourth-quarter of 2014.
Total year results, including results before CDI's acquisition, were similar with Casino bookings more than doubling to $157 million driven by a 56% increase in average quarterly paying users and a 29% increase in average revenue per paying user.
Twin Spires, another source of internet income for CDI, saw fourth quarter revenues increase $300,000 from the prior year on increased handle of 4% driven by organic customer growth.
Total wagering on USA thoroughbred racing declined 4% for the fourth-quarter, meaning TwinSpires growth outpaced the industry by 8 percent. Adjusted EBITDA declined $600,000 or 5 percent, due primarily to new online pari-mutuel taxes in New York.
During the year-ended December 31, 2014, TwinSpires revenues increased $5.8 million, or 3 percent, over the prior year, reflecting an increase of 3% in pari-mutuel handle compared to a total industry handle decline of 2.8 percent.
Excluding the impact of wagering disruptions in Illinois and the loss of all online wagering in Texas for all of 2014, TwinSpires's handle increased 5% during the year, due in part to a 19% increase in unique players, and outpaced industry growth by 8 percentage points.
TwinSpires Adjusted EBITDA decreased $3.8 million for the year was driven by a $5.4 million decline on the loss of Texas resident wagering, and a $3.9 million decline on new online pari-mutuel taxes in New York. These losses were partially offset by organic handle growth of 5 percent, the reinstatement of Illinois resident online wagering, and improvements in the company's investment in HRTV.
On a Group basis Q4 highlights included:
* Record net revenues of $168.3 million, a 4% increase over fourth-quarter 2013
* Record Adjusted EBITDA of $28.5 million, up 47% over fourth-quarter 2013
2014 FY highlights included:
* Record net revenues of $812.9 million, a 4% increase over 2013
* Record Adjusted EBITDA of $202.5 million, up 15% over 2013
However, interest payments were significantly up, dragging profit down to $46.2 million.
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