Kindred Group to Acquire 32Red in Latest Gambling Consolidation Deal

Online gambling operator Kindred Group announced today that it is to acquire fellow iGaming business 32Red as part of its strategy for continued growth through the operation of multiple brands and focus on regulated and soon-to-be-regulated jurisdictions. The announcement comes shortly after the completion of the gambling group’s planned rebranding.

The Malta-headquartered operator is set to pay the amount of £175.6 million for the new addition to its multi-brand family. Under the purchase deal, Kindred Group will acquire 32Red’s online casino, poker,betting, and bingo brands.

Based in Gibraltar and holding licenses from the gambling regulators of Gibraltar, the UK, and Italy, 32Red is expected to further increase its future parent company’s footprint in those particular markets. With the UK iGaming market being one of the largest regulated ones, the deal is considered particularly favorable for Kindred Group’s strategy to expand into that particular jurisdiction.

It is still unknown when exactly the transaction will be closed as it is subject to regulatory review and approvals.

Consolidation within the global gambling industry has turned into an important trend over the past several years. Regulatory pressure and intensified competition have been the main drivers for the combination of businesses either through merger, or acquisition deals.

Three pairs of some of the world’s largest operators – Paddy Power/Betfair, Ladbrokes/Coral, and GVC Holdings/bwin.party – announced such deals in the summer of 2015 and closed them in 2016. Although much smaller in scale, the Kindred Group/32Red acquisition deal comes as a response to the global trend. What is more, it can be said that it is the first one at operator level to take place in a year that is anticipated to witness a wave of consolidation within the industry.

The UK gambling market, which is already one of the most strictly regulated ones, is set to face another regulatory challenge from August 1, 2017. It was announced late last year that as from the aforementioned date, freeplays offered by UK-facing gambling operators to local players will be deemed of value for taxation purposes, a measure that quite expectedly received serious criticism from the industry.

The taxation change may eventually boost merger and acquisition activity in 2017, particularly among operators with strong UK presence. And the acquisition deal announced today may be also come as part of the involved companies’ efforts to blunt the negative effects that may and probably will arise from the UK Government’s decision.

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