Cherry AB has made one more step toward expanding further its European presence through the purchase of a 7.5% stake in Malta-based and Germany-facing online gambling operator Almor Holding Ltd.
Cherry acquired 75% of the company’s shares back in 2015 with the option to purchase the rest of its issued capital if certain results are delivered. Including the most recent purchase, the major gambling operator now owns 82.5% in its smaller counterpart.
Cherry explained in a statement that Almor has outperformed expectations, which has encouraged the purchase of more shares. The Swedish operator is set to either pay €1,219,889.5 for the 7.5% stake or to issue class B shares in Cherry valued at around SEK11.7 million. This will be determined during a May 16 Annual General Meeting.
Cherry has been particularly active on the acquisition front over the past several years. The company has expressed clear interest in expanding its portfolio not only through the addition of online gambling operators with presence in multiple European jurisdictions, but also through the purchase of B2B businesses. Cherry’s iGaming affiliate division has also expanded its footprint recently.
With multiple acquisition deals landed over the course of a relatively short period of time, it will actually not be an exaggeration to say that Cherry is one of the big drivers of consolidation within the industry, particularly in Northern Europe.
It was in late 2016 when the gambling group announced the purchase of a remaining 51% stake in iGaming operator ComeOn Malta Ltd. The latter is known to be one of the biggest providers of online gambling services in the Nordics. Cherry said that it expected to triple its revenue as a result from the acquisition and the continued strong organic growth it has experienced over the past several years.
The Swedish operator also noted that the addition of ComeOn to its existing portfolio would turn it into the third largest industry player in the Nordics and would create a solid basis for further expansion across Europe with multiple strong brands in stock.
Cherry saw its full-revenue jump 109% in 2016 to SEK1.1 billion, reporting strong profit as well. Company EBITDA was up the impressive SEK177.7 million. EBIT totaled SEK625.6 million, up from SEK13.3 million in 2015. EBIT included the reevaluated ComeOn purchase price of SEK510.5 million.
Strong organic growth, the acquisition of ComeOn, the launch of the operator’s XCaliber B2B technology arm, and the positive development of its performance-based online marketing division Game Lounge were some of the key performance highlights included in Cherry’s full-year report for 2016. As promised by the company and as seen in its latest purchase endeavor, it will continue its expansion and footprint extension in 2017, as well.