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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.

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Affiliate Announcements

Acroud launches The Festival Series in Bratislava

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Acroud launches The Festival Series in Bratislava

 

Acroud returns to the live events scene with the launch of the first edition of The Festival Series. By doing so, Acroud is strengthening its position as the bridge between land-based gaming and affiliation to create opportunities to connect operators with the player communities while also producing high-quality content to grow its digital flagship products, such as Pokerlistings.com and CasinoTop10.net.

The inaugural week-long event is a first of its kind mixed games format, incorporating Roulette, Blackjack and competitive Sportsbetting tournaments into a complete Poker tournament schedule. During the event, Acroud will host The Gambling Cabin’s Sportsbook and Matching Vision’s Slots tournaments. Whereas the (€550 buy-in) Main Event comes with a guaranteed prize pool of 300.000 Euros.

“We want the first event to be explosive! The Festival Series is something that the gaming world has never seen before on such a scale, featuring not only nonstop poker action but also boasting innovative casino and sports wagering events,” says Martin von Zweigbergk, Director of Live Events at Acroud.

To elevate players’ experience, Acroud has launched The Festival Series App, which enables networking, provides content, and keeps attendees updated before, during, and after the event. In addition, Acroud has introduced its Play Money pool betting solution on play.thefestival.com.

“Besides bringing innovation to gaming festivals and facilitating more inclusion among those who are more apt to play games outside of poker, The Festival Series intends to create a complete experience both on and off the felt,” says Robert Andersson, CEO and President, Acroud.

The venue, Banco Casino, is positioned right in the centre of Slovakia’s capital, nearby all the city’s major attractions, restaurants and nightlife.

The Festival Series will take place from Monday, September 20 until Sunday, September 26 2021, at Banco Casino in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Further information about The Festival Series and the event schedule is also available on the website www.thefestival.com. The Festival Series App is available to download on AppStore and Google Play.

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Affiliate Announcements

CONDOR GAMING SPONSORS THE EGR POWER AFFILIATES 2021 SUMMIT

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CONDOR GAMING SPONSORS THE EGR POWER AFFILIATES 2021 SUMMIT

 

EGR are delighted to be joined by Condor Gaming at our Power Affiliates Summit this year, the most exclusive event in the iGaming calendar. We look forward to being back in person after a virtual event last year, and thank Condor Gaming for their support in making this happen.”

Katie Renton, Event Content Manager at EGR.

iGaming’s most prestigious event, The EGR Power Affiliates 2021 Summit is back! Condor Gaming is honored to have been selected to be one of this year’s sponsors at the Summit being held at Puente Romano Resort in Marbella, Spain, on September 15-16, 2021. Industry leaders will be gathering to network, collaborate and discuss iGaming dynamics 1-on-1.

Founded in 2012, Condor Gaming is headquartered in Malta and has offices in Bulgaria, Croatia, and Serbia. Creative gamification technologies, transparent partnerships and a customer-centric vision underwrite its success. Condor Gaming has created and operates six casinos to date.

  1. RembrandtCasino
  2. CasinoSieger
  3. 24Bettle
  4. Big5Casino
  5. b-Bets
  6. LuckyBull

Condor Gaming is undergoing the largest expansion in its corporate history. Implementing a multi-tiered growth strategy, while staying true to its core markets, the company is engaging emerging markets that include Canada, Finland, Japan, India, Ireland, New Zealand and LATAM.

Condor Gaming is proud to be trusted by 1,700+ Affiliates. New and existing Condor Affiliates are supported with:

  • ROI maximized with high conversion brands.
  • Daily loyalty campaigns that drive player LTV.
  • Real-time data reporting.
  • Accepting traffic from multiple GEO’s.

And much more…

The pillars of a Condor Affiliate Partnership will never change. Unity and success for all will always be at the heart of Condor Gaming’s philosophy, even as the company continues to evolve in pursuit of its vision.

Condor Gaming’s Chief Marketing Officer, Prash Patel, added:

It’s an honour to be sponsoring EGR Power Affiliates 2021 Summit. This is a prestigious event where only the best in the business are invited to participate. Condor’s drive to expand into new markets can only be achieved with high quality relations and I can’t think of a better place to meet high-performance affiliates who are shaping the future of our industry.”

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Bojoko appoints Joonas Karhu as CEO

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Bojoko appoints Joonas Karhu as CEO

 

Chief Business Officer promoted to top job while current CEO Toni Halonen starts new role as Chief Product Officer

Bojoko, the award-winning online casino affiliate site, has appointed Joonas Karhu as Chief Executive Officer amid a management reshuffle.

Joonas moves into the top job from the role of Chief Business Officer, with current CEO and Bojoko Co-founder, Toni Halonen, moving to the newly created role of Chief Product Officer.

The reshuffle will see Joonas take over the day to day running of the business and take on the task of ensuring Bojoko becomes the first globally recognised online gambling affiliate brand.

He will also be responsible for strategy development and execution, driving growth, overseeing resources and development and inspiring and motivating the wider team.

In his role as Chief Business Officer, Joonas has developed strong relationships with a wide range of industry stakeholders which he will continue to work with as CEO.

As Chief Product Officer, Toni will focus on taking the Bojoko product and user experience to levels the industry has never seen before and further establishing the company as a leader in the sector.

This comes after several major product upgrades, including the launch of two in-house developed game training apps that can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play store.

Joonas Karhu, Bojoko Chief Executive Officer, said: “I am honoured to have been named CEO of Bojoko, a business that I have been proud to be a part of since the very beginning.

“Over the past four years, I have watched it grow into an award-winning, market-leading online gambling affiliate organisation with a presence in markets around the world.

“I have always worked closely with Toni in my role as Chief Business Officer and believe I am in a strong position to take over the reins and continue to drive the business forward and on to greater success.

“I’d like to thank Toni and the other co-founders for putting their trust in me and promise to do all I can to achieve the goal of Bojoko becoming the first globally recognised affiliate brand.”

Toni Halonen, Chief Product Officer at Bojoko, said: “In Joonas we have the perfect candidate for the CEO role; he knows the business and also has unrivalled knowledge of, and experience in, the market.

“This reshuffle allows me to refocus on my passions – technology and SEO – and to ensure that Bojoko continues to push the boundaries in the areas of technology and user experience.

“This really is an exciting chapter for the business, and I look forward to seeing the incredible things we can achieve under Joonas’ leadership.”

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