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Better Collective expands in Denmark

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With the acquisition of Action Network, Better Collective gains clear market leadership within sports betting media and affiliation in the US and now expects to increase its revenues in the US to more than 100 mUSD by 2022. Sports betting media group, Better Collective, today announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares in Action Network, Inc. (“Action”) for 240 mUSD (198 mEUR) on a cash and debt free basis. Founded in 2017 and launched in 2018, Action is uniquely positioned in the US market as the premium sports content and product destination for US sports bettors. A trusted source for sports fans, Action’s media platforms provide an enhanced experience for its users through original sports news content, premium insights, deep menus of odds and proprietary betting tools and data. Action's diverse revenue model includes a rapidly-growing affiliate marketing business focused on customer acquisition for betting operators in the US as well as subscription products, anchored by Action Pro, Action Labs and Fantasy Labs. Action continues to benefit from the expanding legal sports betting market in the US. In 2021, Action is expected to achieve revenues approaching 40 mUSD, an increase of over 100% year-on-year, while also generating positive operational earnings in 2021. As more states legalize online sports betting, the potential to further deepen and expand Action's commercial partnerships with large US-based sportsbooks such as BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet is significant. Action is headquartered in New York, and has approximately 100 employees. The Transaction The purchase price amounts to 240 mUSD (198 mEUR) on a cash and debt free basis and will be settled in a cash payment and a 12 mUSD issuance of new Better Collective (BETCO.ST) shares to Action’s management, key employees and certain other individuals. 10 mUSD of the cash payment will be paid on a deferred basis as settlement of certain existing share options in Action. The number of Better Collective shares issued will be determined by the volume-weighted BETCO.ST share price 5 trading days prior to the date of this announcement. Further, the issued Better Collective shares will be subject to a lock-up of between 6 and 24 months following completion of the transaction. The cash component of the purchase price will be provided through bank financing. The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in Q2 2021. Better Collective in the US While the US sports betting market has grown rapidly since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) removed a federal ban on online gambling, only 13 states have legalized online gambling at this point. Many more are expected to follow in the coming years, with the addressable market significantly expanding as a result. Total online sports betting revenues in the US are forecasted to reach 4 bnUSD in 2022 and amount to nearly 40 bnUSD in 2033*. Following the execution of Better Collective’s acquisition strategy and ongoing investments in the US market, Better Collective’s US business has developed successfully, with high growth and a rapid increase in profitability. The acquisition of Action consolidates Better Collective’s leading position in the affiliate and customer delivery verticals within online sports betting, enabled through a number of strong product platforms. In light of this, and given the continued pace of new states regulating, Better Collective expects the US market to continue growing and its US revenues to surpass 100 mUSD by 2022, with positive and increasing operational earnings. Action will become an integral part of Better Collective US and will continue to operate as a separate business unit with its current brands, management team, and employees, led by CEO Patrick Keane who will report to Group Management through US CEO, Marc Pedersen. Action will integrate with Better Collective’s current organization where relevant in order to generate efficiencies. Jesper Søgaard, CEO of Better Collective, says: “I am thrilled to welcome Action and its employees to Better Collective. This acquisition, which is the largest in Better Collective’s history, gives us a leading position within affiliation in the US and a strong foundation for profiting from the continuous regulation of the US betting market. We add three new, very well positioned US sports media brands to our portfolio and welcome around 100 new colleagues, together representing an invaluable pool of knowledge and expertise on the US sports betting media market. By all accounts, this is a great day for Better Collective.” Patrick Keane, CEO of Action, says: “Today marks a great achievement in the history of Action. In just a few years, our team has managed to build a leading sports betting product and media business in the US market, making us attractive to a leading international player. I am thrilled about this outcome for our employees and investors and we look forward to continuing to forge great relationships with our league, media and sportsbook partners. Under Better Collective’s ownership, we become part of a company with many years of experience and all the resources necessary to further grow our position and develop our offering, to ultimately enhance the betting and entertainment experience for sports fans. We gain new colleagues, career paths and perspectives. I’m looking very much forward to the journey ahead. ” Financial Targets Better Collective will consolidate Action into the Better Collective Group from the time of closing. In connection with the acquisition, Better Collective is updating its Financial Targets for 2021: Total group revenue is now expected to exceed 180 mEUR (previously more than 160 mEUR); and Operational profit is now expected to exceed 55 mEUR (previously more than 50 mEUR). Better Collective will share more details in connection with its Q1 2021 earnings report that will be released on May 12, 2021. The acquisition of Action will bring Better Collective's estimated debt leverage (Net Interest Bearing Debt/EBITDA) above the company’s financial target of

Better Collective has acquired all the Danish affiliate activities from Xperten Ltd and Xpert Ltd, including the SpilXperten.com brand, establishing their position as the leading iGaming affiliate in Denmark.

 

April 4th, 2018 – Better Collective, the world’s leading developer of digital platforms for bookmaker information, iGaming communities, and betting tips, has strengthened its foothold on their home turf, by acquiring the Danish affiliate activities from the companies Xperten Ltd and Xpert Ltd. This is their second acquisition this year, and the tenth acquisition within a 12-month period.

Home field advantage

The acquisition is reaffirming Better Collective’s position as the market leader in Denmark. Founded in 2006, Xperten Ltd, and later Xpert Ltd, have built up a portfolio with prominent Danish brands, including SpilXperten.com, which has developed a loyal user base since it began more than 10 years ago .

The acquisition fits perfectly with Better Collective’s long term strategy. Better Collective has always preferred to build strong positions within well-regulated and established European markets. Regulated markets offer more long term stability, as well as a healthier marketplace, with more legislative structure in relation to how to approach affiliate marketing from a compliance perspective.

Over the next twelve months, Xperten Ltd and Xpert Ltd will remain involved with the acquired portfolio of sites as they become integrated into the pre-established working systems for Danish products and sites at Better Collective’s Copenhagen office.

Michal Kopec, Head of M&A at Better Collective: “After making a number of international acquisitions it’s a real pleasure to finalize a deal in Better Collective’s home country. We have known the sellers  for a long time, and we know they represent quality and values in perfect alignment with Better Collective. We are confident that we along with the founders can grow the great products in the coming 12 months, and beyond

Jesper Søgaard, CEO & Co-Founder at Better Collective: “We have always been strong in the Danish market, but acquiring the Danish activities from Xperten Ltd & Xpert Ltd makes us the unquestionable market leader here in Denmark. Our long term M&A strategy has always been to further strengthen our position at the top of the European iGaming affiliate market. This tenth acquisition is another strong step for us in reaching this goal.

Søren Kristensen, co-founder at Xperten Ltd & Xpert Ltd: “It’s been really great developing and celebrating the achievements of our website portfolio over the past 11 years. We’ve always had a good relationship with the team at Better Collective, and we  are happy that we are able to hand over our successful products to a group with such a great track record and approach to the industry.

 

Better Collective’s vision is to empower iGamers through transparency and technology—this is what has made them the world’s leading developer of digital platforms for betting tips, bookmaker information and iGaming communities. Better Collective’s portfolio includes more than 2,000+ websites and products. This includes bettingexpert.com, the trusted home of tips from expert tipsters and in depth betting theory and SmartBets, the odds comparison platform made personal.

Affiliate Announcements

Introducing The Affiliate Agency

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Introducing The Affiliate Agency

 

Full service iGaming affiliate staffing and management for emerging markets

With an eye on emerging iGaming markets, The Affiliate Agency (TAA) has launched to help merchants with affiliate program management and day-to-day management of their affiliate programs. The two veteran owners of TAA each have over 20 years experience with affiliate program management and relationship building. The Affiliate Agency is ready to leverage this experience and connections to help launch new and grow existing affiliate programs in all industries, with a focus on iGaming.

The Affiliate Agency is a full service affiliate marketing agency that is committed to flexibility when working with clients. Along with affiliate management staffing, TAA helps with affiliate recruitment, program setup, affiliate engagement, and manager training. The Agency also has a team ready to provide design of creatives, copywriting services and more. Each offering by TAA is available a la carte. The Agency is also affiliate software agnostic and will work with any tracking platform required, and can recommend the best system for each client from a list of trusted providers.

“The most difficult part of running a successful affiliate program is hiring seasoned affiliate managers who have connections to high value affiliates,” said General Manager Connie Burstin. “With The Affiliate Agency we plan to streamline and provide this process out of the box for brands, allowing them to hit the ground running and earning revenue with their affiliate programs from day one.”

The Affiliate Agency is based in the United States and Canada and has staff in Costa Rica, positioning itself to service iGaming operators targeting the Americas but also worldwide.

 

For more information about the Affiliate Agency, contact info@TheAffiliateAgency.co or visit TheAffiliateAgency.co

 

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Affiliate Announcements

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

GAMING1 adds JOABET to leading affiliate program

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GAMING1 adds JOABET to leading affiliate program

Multi-brand platform welcomes acclaimed new member to high-profile list

Leading gaming and sports betting partner GAMING1 has added the prominent French operator JOABET to its renowned affiliate program.

The hugely popular sportsbook and casino, which is regulated through ARJEL and recently underwent a full-scale rebrand, offers punters unrivalled welcome promotions, including refunds for their first bet to the value of €100.

Joining GAMING1’s state-of-the-art affiliate program allows JOABET to benefit from flexible and modular reward plans, round the clock customer support and an advanced omni-channel marketing tool.

GAMING1’s latest agreement further strengthens its leading position within the French market and beyond, as the company continues to extend its reach across a global range of regulated territories spanning both Europe and Latin America.

Commenting on the deal, Sylvain Boniver, COO & Co-Founder at GAMING1, said“Powering JOABET’S cutting-edge rebrand was a fantastic step for us, and we are delighted to take our partnership to the next level by welcoming the operator into our affiliate program.

“We have no doubt that the company will rapidly experience the myriad benefits of the program, which provides invaluable assistance to brands looking to reach new audiences.”

A spokesperson at JOABET added: “We are thrilled to join GAMING1’s multi-brand affiliate program, in a deal enabling us to benefit from the brilliant range of marketing tools and services which it offers.

“The move will prove essential to our ongoing expansion, expanding our appeal to an even wider range of customers. Working with GAMING1’s talented team has been a real pleasure, and we look forward to maintaining our partnership.”

Regarded as one of Belgium and France’s foremost suppliers, GAMING1 has proven key to JOABET’s operations since first partnering together three years ago.

Dedicated to providing an unmatched entertainment experience for its players, it currently operates within Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Switzerland, Colombia and MGA market.

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