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Vernons.com sold to NetPlay TV

The gaming division of UK-based interactive gaming company NetPlay TV, NetPlay TV Group Limited, has acquired pool and sportsbetting operator Sportech’s e-Gaming business Vernons.com for £3 million (€3.5 million/$4.8 million).

In announcing the deal, Sportech said that the decision to offload Vernons.com had been made following a strategic review of the e-Gaming business over the past six months.

“Sportech's management has concluded that the operation is not of sufficient scale and that Sportech would need to invest further or acquire additional e-Gaming assets to derive an acceptable financial return,” the company said.

The e-Gaming business reported a loss of £700,000 in the first half of 2013, and the losses have continued in the second half of this year, the company added.

“Given the investment opportunities in other parts of the business, including those presented by US online regulation and our exclusive horseracing betting platform in Connecticut, the board have decided to sell our e-Gaming business to a more focused and larger e-Gaming operator which can grow the customer base and better mitigate the impact of UK Point of Consumption tax when implemented in December 2014,” Sportech said.

The e-Gaming business that has been acquired by NetPlay TV includes the Vernons-branded online casino, poker, bingo and sportsbook websites, the rights to the customer database of these websites and the transfer of customer accounts and a number of employees.

“Our loss-making Vernons casino, poker and bingo business has had a difficult year, and the impending introduction of Point of Consumption tax next year increases the challenges ahead for a sub scale operation in an increasingly competitive marketplace,” Sportech chief executive officer Ian Penrose said.

“We are delighted to have realised £3 million in cash for the sale to NetPlay, who will be able to combine increased scale and market leading interactive gaming television skills to take the business forward.

“This is another positive step in increasing the focus of Sportech on operations where we hold competitive advantage, particularly those in the US.”

NetPlay TV chief executive officer Charles Butler added: "I am very pleased to announce the acquisition of the well-known Vernons.com brand and its customer base. The acquisition, which will be immediately earnings enhancing, fits very well with the group's core business, adds scale and customer reach, and will be integrated quickly and efficiently to realise the excellent operational synergies.

"This represents the acceleration of our strategy to grow through both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. We look forward to investing further in our proven marketing strategy for Vernons.com alongside our existing brands and continuing to drive value for shareholders."

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