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Acquisition of Bookmaker.com.au by Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes has entered the Australian sports betting market with the acquisition of Bookmaker.com.au for AU$22.5m, approximately £13 million plus an earnout payable after three years based on the Ladbrokes Australia EBITDA achieved by the group for the period ending 30 June 2016.

The agreement enables Ladbrokes to enter a regulated and growing online betting market and included the acquisition of Panda Gaming Pty Ltd, which operates an extensive racing and sports affiliate network in Australia. Bookmaker.com.au is owned by Gaming Investments Pty Ltd (GIPL) and launched in February 2012.

Ladbrokes launched Ladbrokes.com.au today as part of its moves Down Under and will hope that the combination of an online betting operation and a network of affiliates to drive traffic to the company’s horse racing and sports betting sites will minimise acquisition costs, while the company’s proprietary technologies mean it will be in control of all mobile and platform developments. 

The group was founded and is led by chief executive Dean Shannon and recorded around AU$400m in stakes for the 12 month period ending 30 June 2013.

“The business has a strong senior management team and skilled technology operation with extensive experience in the sector.  As shareholders, the senior management team are highly incentivised to deliver future growth,” Ladbrokes said in its statement.

Ladbrokes Australia will be overseen by Damian Cope, Ladbrokes International and group strategy director, and is expected to make a small profit in the year ending 31 December 2014. It will launch an active marketing campaign shortly that will focus on the Spring Racing Carnival, a 65-day racing programme throughout the state of Victoria, culminating in the 2013 Melbourne Cup.

Richard Glynn, Ladbrokes' chief executive, said: "The acquisition of this fast growing business represents an excellent opportunity for Ladbrokes to establish a strong presence in Australia, in line with our strategy to extend geographic reach to key regulated markets. At launch Ladbrokes Australia will have a highly experienced management team who are strongly incentivised to achieve further customer and revenue growth over the coming years."

In other Ladbrokes news, the operator has renewed its agreement with the sportsbook and gaming platform provider OpenBet until 2016. The two companies have been working together for 15 years, the new agreement will see OpenBet continue to provide the technology behind Ladbrokes’ online sportsbook and games products.

Richard Glynn commented: “We are pleased to extend our long-standing relationship with OpenBet with this agreement, which offers revenue opportunities to both parties and enhances all of Ladbrokes' existing (and future) product and technology partnerships.”

OpenBet chief executive Jeremy Thompson-Hill added: “The most satisfying element of this new deal is that Ladbrokes has been one of the cornerstone clients for OpenBet right from the start of our company’s history. Over the next three years, we are sure that Ladbrokes’ sportsbook and games products will go from strength to strength, rightfully cementing its place in the online gaming space.”

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