Leak Main Reason Unibet Sports Talks Failed

Sportingbet’s chief executive said Unibet’s departure “is highly unlucky” from a likely amalgamation with the British sportbook and consented to a leak whilst negotiations were still on the go.  The net result was that the Swedish internet casino decided to pull the plug on the possible merger.

Andy McIver, said to eGaming Review: “It’s very unfortunate that we couldn’t close the merger with Unibet, not to even mention the leak which caused a raucous in the media.  Our discussions with Unibet were still in its infancy stages and sadly it failed.” He went on to outline the “logic” in joining the two sportsbooks, Unibet and Sportingbet as “unleashing the potential market cap of both operators”.  “This amalgamation could have been an important addition since Unibet possesses a different geographical region and their potential in various regions caught our attention,” he said.  However, he declined to inform egaming review if they were in the “hunt” for other deals but consented that the Sportingbet board was “looking at various other options and markets.

The source who leaked the story on November 14th concerning a possible Sportingbet-Unibet merger, the Sunday Times reported both internet casinos were in the first stages of possible merger talks.  Both internet casinos were nominated eighth and tenth position in this year’s eGaming Review Power 50 most significant internet casinos.

eGaming Review interviewed Henrik Tjarnstrom, CEO of Unibet who said that if the Swedish internet casinos were to amalgamate with another internet casino it would be to “enhance its geographic reach rather than its merchandise contributions”.  “You can either grow naturally or you can expand by means of amalgamations and acquisitions,” Tjarnstrom, said, refusing to comment at the time whether or not the internet casino were already in discussions with Sportingbet directors.  He did consent that they were in discussions with various internet casinos”.  However, a couple of days later Unibet issued a press release to the stock market that it had pulled-out from all manner of merger discussions.

McIver, informed eGaming Review that Sportingbet’s aims to be an international competitive sportsbook and it entails to “broaden their geographical horizons” this comprises their entire strategic plan for now.  Currently 75% of our operations take place in Europe, a region where the economic recession is rather fierce at the moment, 25% in Latin America and Australia and a small portion of the market in South Africa.   In essence we need to expand since Europe has been severely affected by the current economic global recession”.

Its latest amalgamation with Russian bookmaker First International Bookmakers (FIBC), according to McIver, “has taken us a long time to gauge the potential of such a merger and to finally find a suitable partner, McIver concluded.

Sportingbet’s merger with FIBC will institute a Russia-facing internet sportsbook under the Liga Stavok brand. FIBC presently manages 256 betting outlets all over Russia under Liga Stavok, making it the second biggest licensed bookmaker in the Russia. Liga Stavok’s sole betting enterprise with the Russian Football Premier League would give it “unmatched entrée into the Russian sports betting market”, a Sportingbet statement mentioned when the deal was made known at the beginning of this month.

“We are glad to have netted a third party to boost our current exposure and to gain access in a new market,” he said. “Russia’s economic life cycle is completely different than the rest of and it’s on the up.  It possesses a very large populace and potentially with a burly sporting heritage in internet betting.



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