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Acroud publishes interim report Jan-Mar 2021: Strong quarter characterised by growth and acquisitions

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First Quarter 2021

  • Revenue amounted to EUR 5,579 (3,191) thousand, corresponding to a growth of 75% (-21%) and an organic growth of -10% (-22%).
  • EBITDA amounted to EUR 1,441 (1,742) thousand. Adjusted EBITDA (before items affecting comparability related to acquisitions and new share issues) was EUR 1,575 (1,742) thousand.
  • Profit after tax was EUR 748 (2,759) thousand. Adjusted profit after tax (before items affecting comparability and currency effects) was EUR 553 (1,440) thousand.
  • Earnings per share after dilution amounted to EUR 0.006 (0.036). Adjusted earnings per share (before items affecting comparability and currency effects) was EUR 0.005 (0.019).
  • New Depositing Customers (NDC) amounted to 31,787 (9,622) increasing by 230% (-16%).
  • Cash flow from operating activities excluding one-off tax payment relating to acquisitions amounted to EUR 388 (1,625) thousand.

Significant events during the quarter

  • In January, Acroud acquired the assets in Power Media Group (PMG), which includes Voonix, Matching Visions and Traffic Grid. PMG consists of three fast-growing companies which are mainly active in the European market with the affiliate network Matching Visions and marketing campaign broker Traffic Grid, but also includes an industry-leading SaaS service provider with Voonix. In 2020 PMG generated revenues amounting to EUR 9.6million and an EBITDA amounting to EUR 0.9million. PMG pursues a different business model with high entry-barriers and have diversified revenue streams where Matching Visions acts as a “hub” in the Affiliation industry where several thousand smaller affiliate sites are connected with operators. Matching Visions operates with a margin of around 10-15% and is, with its network, a vital part in the media ecosystem which Acroud has created.
  • In January, the Company obtained a license to operate in Pennsylvania, which is already a regulated State. At the same time, Michigan, where Acroud already has a license, was regulated, which means that Acroud can run Sports Betting, Casino and Poker affiliate operations in both states.
  • In February 2021, a new organizational structure was introduced, with two operational segments: the iGaming Affiliation segment and the… As a Service segment (SaaS and BaaS solutions). In the iGaming Affiliation segment, news and comparison sites are operated. In the… As a Service segment, we offer software and service solutions in the media and affiliation industry, so-called Software as a Service (SaaS) and Business as a Service (BaaS) offerings. In connection with the introduction of the new organization, a new and strengthened management team was formed consisting of seven people.
  • In February, Acroud gave an update on US Strategy. Acroud will continue on the track with focus on the US market evaluating different growth initiatives to find the right balance between organic growth, partnerships with Media Houses and executing possible strategic acquisitions. As part of the evaluation Acroud decided to withdraw from the process of a potential acquisition where a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) was announced on 3 November 2020. The rationale behind the withdrawal was a combination of higher transaction risk than anticipated and increased momentum of our current assets.
  • In February, the Company signed another letter of intent for the acquisition of TheGamblingCabin (TGC), which is a fast-growing company that offers both a software-based “gaming tips” service and highly popular streaming channels within Sports Betting, Poker and Horse Racing. TGC has a clear strategic fit with Acroud, whereby we strengthen our software offering (SaaS), while adding some of the most popular media channels, YouTube and Twitch, to our offering. The acquisition was finalized in April 2021.
  • In March, an Extraordinary General Meeting was held which decided on an employee stock option program. The employee share option program covers key personnel and will run for three years until March 2024. The Extraordinary General Meeting was held on 1 March 2021.

Significant events after the quarter

  • After the end of the period, TGC was acquired for a purchase price of approximately SEK 47 million, on a cash and debt-free basis. The purchase price was paid in cash and with newly issued shares in Acroud. The transaction was based on Acroud’s signed letter of intent published in a press release on 17 February 2021. TGC generated annual sales of approximately EUR 1.4 million, based on the 9-month period Q320– Q121, with an EBITDA margin of approximately 65 percent resulting in annual EBITDA of approximately EUR 0.9 million.
  • In April, Jonas Strömberg from Erik Selin Aktiehandel AB and Maria Grimaldi Andersson were proposed to be elected as new board members of Acroud during the Annual General Meeting on 20 May 2021. At the same time, Fredrik Rüden and Jonas Bertilsson renounced re-election.

VD-comment: The Ride continues!

It has been a very eventful quarter during which we have executed the communicated strategy with increased focus on growth, which is seen in increasing NDCs (New Depositing Customers) development. This is one of the most important key figures and the development has been very strong, to a large extent as a result of acquisitions made and the synergies they entail. We have developed Acroud from being a traditional “comparison site” affiliate company to owning a strong “ecosystem” in the media and affiliation industry. We are taking big steps forward in high speed through an innovative and forward-leaning approach. We connect People, Content Creators (Bloggers, Youtubers, Affiliates, etc.) and activities within the ecosystem.

In short time we have developed Acroud from primarily operating traditional comparison and news sites within iGaming to also run land-based live events, SaaS solutions, BaaS solutions and high-quality media content such as Streaming, Twitch and Youtube. All of these mentioned components or “circles” meet in Acroud and it is so “where the magic happens” in the media ecosystem.

A strong and progressive quarter

When I took over as CEO I expected that it would take around 12 months before we would harvest the initial fruits of the extensive change management work. Therefore it is extra gratifying to see the results for the first quarter confirming this:

  • NDC development is strong and increasing sequentially in both the iGaming Affiliation and As a Service segments, to 31,787 NDCs, largely driven by acquisitions, compared to 11,262 NDCs during the fourth quarter of 2020
  • REVENUES increase sequentially by 123% to EUR 5,579, where revenues from the iGaming Affiliation segment also show growth of 13%
  • ADJUSTED EBITDA increasing 54% quarter on quarter reaching 1,575 kEUR compared to 1,023 kEUR previous quarter

Through the change management work, the original iGaming Affiliation segment now shows growth sequentially, excluding acquisitions. Our comparative figures compared to the first quarter last year have been affected by the adjustment made in the Dutch market in July last year, which mainly explains the negative organic growth in iGaming Affiliation on an annual basis. According to Dutch authorities, the market is expected to reopen in October 2021.

What is “The Media House of the Future”?

For Acroud, it is a mantra and means a lot. First of all, it’s an attitude. “Future” means being pro-active, adaptable and to be in the forefront. “Media house” means that we build an ecosystem consisting of several different components that together complement each other with clear synergies. As an example, during March 2021 we generated +1,000 NDCs through streaming, which has not been generated in previous quarters in the business. By getting the various components to work together, we create diversification, high-qualitative content and high entry barriers. Step by step, we are moving from being a pure player with traditional comparison sites to a product mix comprising more complex solutions with high entry barriers and high-quality content.

Through the acquisition of Power Media Group, Acroud took a big leap into the SaaS industry and has now also become a SaaS company (Software as a Service). In line with our vision to create a better way for “Content Creators” to monetize from their work, we now offer two different software solutions. 1) Voonix, which is an industry-leading data collection tool in the affiliation industry, and 2) Affhut, which simplifies for users to build and create their own networks of “Content Creators”.

The acquisition of TheGamblingCabin (TGC) in April was another important milestone on the road to create the “Media House of the Future”. TGC is a fast-growing player in streaming and software solutions for the media and affiliation industry. TGCs’ “reduction tool” is an industry-leading software and the company’s digital presence is impressive and can be launched internationally. This and the other acquisitions we have made recently transform and strengthen Acroud at the same time as we position ourselves as a SaaS supplier on the strategic map.

Acroud´s three growth pillars

Following the acquisitions, a new company have been formed which consists of two operational segments: iGaming Affiliation (news and comparison websites) and …As a Service (SaaS- and BaaS solutions). Our expansion strategy for the two segments is based on 3 growth pillars which are iGaming Affiliation, BaaS and SaaS solutions. The iGaming Affiliation is our underlying affiliate business containing the traditional verticals; Poker, Sports Betting and Casino. Acroud delivers high quality content and uses search engine optimisation to rank high in keywords and thereby drive traffic in the media industry. The second pillar, “Software as a Service” (SaaS) solutions, has been described above, while the third pillar “Business as a Service” (BaaS) is a service offering that primarily includes Matching Visions. Matching Visions provides “Content Creators” (Bloggers, Youtubers, Affiliates, etc.) access to a large client base, unique software, tools and business terms, which would otherwise be out of their reach. Thousands of smaller iGaming affiliate sites around the world come together, via Matching Visions, to provide traffic and new players to online gaming operators.

Focus on “Operational Excellence”

After the integration of the acquired businesses, the focus is on ‘Operational Excellence’ and on developing the new Acroud together with our new team. In February a new management team was formed with experienced leaders from the industry who see the synergies within our group and have a way of working which is fast, entrepreneurial and professional. We are constantly improving and building a strong organization adapted to growth.

In addition, after two years of work, all sites have now migrated to one and the same platform, which means efficient and scalable roll-out of sites. Preparations for the opening and regulation of the German and Dutch markets this year are in full swing and the last pieces of the puzzle will fall into place during the second quarter so that we are ready to capitalize on our iGaming assets.

Our way to create shareholder value

I always aim to engage the best talent, make best use of resources and find our own unique position in the value chain within the industry. This in turn will maximize shareholder value. This is exactly what we are doing with Acroud moving on the strategic map and creating a unique media company with powerful SaaS solutions, unique focus on Poker and high-quality content including a large network of streamers. We like to see opportunities where others have not yet understood the full potential.

At the same time as others rush to the US, we continue our focus on organic growth step by step where our US assets are showing momentum. We focus on the areas where we have “low-hanging fruit” to pick to create value for shareholders.

In addition, we continue to create unique content and unique revenue streams by “owning poker again” via TheGamblingCabin and The Festival Series which is a land-based and competitive Sports Betting, Casino and Poker event at several different destinations in Europe. We are also expanding the streaming networks within Matching Visions as well as broadening our SaaS solutions through Voonix expansion. Pictures, mobile media and film are becoming important in our daily lives and also for search engine optimization, which is the foundation for building awareness regarding Acroud websites and brands. Thus, “User Generated Content” norm today – let’s do it through a strong offering in social media.

We will continue to pursue an opportunistic acquisition strategy where we evaluate new potential acquisitions, primarily focusing on SaaS solutions and Sports Betting, but we will not be as aggressive as the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021. Priority will be on organic growth in our base portfolio, integration of completed acquisitions, while we will step by step reduce net indebtedness over time.

In summary, the pieces of the Acroud puzzle are starting to fall into place to build “The Media House of the Future” and we are prepared for solid growth. You can expect that we will continue to keep a high pace, invest smart and create value for shareholders.

Affiliate Announcements

WPT GLOBAL JOINS GAMBLING PORTAL WEBMASTERS ASSOCIATION AS PLATINUM SPONSOR

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WPT GLOBAL JOINS GAMBLING PORTAL WEBMASTERS ASSOCIATION AS PLATINUM SPONSOR

 

WPT Global, the online poker platform licensed by the World Poker Tour, has joined the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association as a Platinum Sponsor.

The newly-established partnership between WPT Global and the GPWA will help advance the relationship with affiliates even further. As the leading platform in connecting gambling industry professionals, the GPWA provides WPT Global with the necessary tools to reinforce the relationship between the brand and its affiliates.

Already carrying the name of one of the most respected brands in the poker industry, WPT Global adds even more credibility by adding the GPWA Sponsor Seal. This new certificate is further proof that WPT Global is committed to the shared values of integrity, respect, transparency and ethical business practices.

WPT Global’s affiliate program, WPT Partners, rewards the partner websites’ effort and commitment to promoting the brand. By working together with the WPT Global, affiliates enjoy a wide range of benefits, which include:

• Different deal types: revenue share, CPA and hybrid, which combines both.
• Sub-affiliates revenue share, up to 2.5%.

WPT Partners have a variety of market tools at their disposal. The WPT Global newsletter, which contains information on the latest campaigns, promotions, events, partnerships and system updates, will keep affiliates up to date with everything they need to know. WPT Global creates a close relationship between its products and the affiliate’s players, all increasing and optimizing customer conversion.

The recently launched WPT Global platform brings the World Poker Tour experience online. Already available in over 50 nations and territories, WPT Global offers the best possible online poker experience in a secure, fair and exciting package.

Players signing up for the WPT Global app will join the largest poker network in the world, with a variety of poker games available to suit all bankrolls and styles. WPT Global welcomes new players with a first deposit bonus of 100% up to $1,200.

WPT Global has fully embraced NFTs and the Metaverse, having recently partnered with GAMAVRS to create Poker Heroes Club, the world’s first NFT poker community. With 9,999 NFT avatars auctioned since its launch in February 2022, Poker Heroes Club also brings many exclusive benefits. Its members enjoy celebrity poker tables with WPT influencers, $100,000 freeroll tournaments, access to VIP WPT Global events and a private Discord channel.

Players of all levels can also learn from the best with Learn WPT. Starting at $5 for the first month of membership, players will undertake comprehensive workshops and learn from professionals on how to win at poker.

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Affiliate Announcements

HITSQWAD PARTNERS WITH FIRST LOOK AS IT UNLEASHES DEBUT GAMES

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HITSQWAD PARTNERS WITH FIRST LOOK AS IT UNLEASHES DEBUT GAMES

 

First Look Games will enable affiliates to access HITSqwad’s action-packed jackpot titles

Challenger games studio HITSqwad has partnered with leading affiliate platform First Look Games as it prepares to unleash its debut Jackpot Theme, FIRST STRIKE.

There has been no announcement about being an online casino with no deposit bonus, but fans and newbies alike are hoping for something similar.

First Look Games is the ultimate platform for game studios to connect with iGaming affiliates and over 20 million casino players around the world. It gives publishers in the affiliate space access to game information, assets and content on the latest slots before anyone else. By connecting game developers directly with the publishers who promote their content to players, it increases the volume, quality and compliance of game marketing.

Formed by a team of industry veterans, HITSqwad’s Vision is to become a Market Leader in the supply of both Jackpot Technology & Jackpot Games to the Online Gaming Market.

The studio’s eagerly awaited debut jackpot games include the military themed BRAVO MISSION, and the Viking inspired RAGNAR, both of which are packed with action in the form of freespins, win multipliers and tiered bonus and jackpot features.

It’s the first of several completed HITSqwad games that will be released to the market via the Playzido Network in the coming months.

Interested affiliates can sign up, free of charge, at firstlookgames.com to learn more.

Charl Geyser, CEO of HITSqwad said: “We’re delighted to partner with First Look Games. HITSqwad is committed to working with the highest-quality partners to enable the entire industry and players to get the best from our exciting product range. The initial two games are locked, loaded and ready for action, and there are many more in the pipeline. Registered affiliates can see them first at First Look Games!”  

Tom Galanis, Managing Director at First Look Games said:HITSqwad are a really exciting new games studio and we’re thrilled they’ve chosen First Look Games. We think they’re going to make a real splash in the market, and we want to help them do that by delivering maximum exposure for their games.”

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Affiliate Announcements

LottaRewards Launches New Features for Enhanced Player Experience!

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LottaRewards Launches New Features for Enhanced Player Experience!

 

LottaRewards is thrilled to announce that they have taken their brand experience to the next level. Many features across the Lotto247 platform have been enhanced for improved conversions and customer lifetime value, leading to increased player engagement with more games and offers to choose from. Income Access has been providing its industry-leading affiliate tracking platform solution to LottaRewards, but we are also excited to share the expansion of the existing partnership, as IA will now be managing the LottaRewards affiliate channel. The affiliate platform offers affiliates a wide range of marketing and analytics tools, flexible commissions, detailed performance tracking and support from a knowledgeable team of industry veterans.

About Lotta Rewards
LottaRewards is the longest running and best lottery affiliate program in the industry. Their core brands Lotto247.com, PlayHugeLottos.com, GrandesLoterias.com and PlayUSALotteries.com operate in more than 100 countries, and provide support in 6 languages including English, Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian and French. Their brands make it possible for players from all around the world to participate in the world’s biggest lottery jackpots, including the famous US Powerball, Mega Millions, Mega Sena, Euromillions and more.

Brands and Products
Affiliates can promote the different LottaRewards brands based on their traffic and targeted markets. Lotto247’s brand purpose is to serve up life changing fun for everyone and is positioned as an always-on, always open destination to try your luck, win BIG and live free. The site is slick and mobile friendly, offering a first-class lottery experience with a colourful twist. The brand also offers access to exclusive jackpots, a variety of payment mechanisms, continuous promotions, and generous giveaways.
PlayHugeLottos has been around for over 20 years and has built up a rock-solid reputation as a trusted place to chase the ultimate luxury lifestyle dream. The brand purpose is to help you dream bigger than ever before. The site has been designed to provide players with localized experiences and offers. Players won’t find generic promotions or campaigns here, PlayHugeLottos.com is the embodiment of VIP treatment. They also offer GrandesLoterias.com which is specially for the Latin American and Spanish audience whereas PlayUSALotteries.com focuses on the world-famous US Jackpot draws and is popular in all ROW markets.

Player Opportunities
New players on Lotto247 and PlayHugeLottos are treated from the get- go. The Players get an opportunity to take advantage of the following promotions:
• 50% deposit bonus within 72 hours after their FTD
• Discounted entries to international draws and Cashbacks after depositing
• Best lottery odds, free lottery entries, access to special Superdraws
• Surprise gifts for simply signing in and much more.

The product portfolio is extensive and caters to any player repertoire. All brands offer Lottery Betting, hundreds of Slots from all the top suppliers, eScratches, Table Games, Live Dealer Casino, Keno and coming soon: Sportsbetting.

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