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888 Reports Strong 2020 Growth, Eyeing Potential M&As


888 Holdings has reported strong growth across all of its business verticals in 2020 and is now looking for potential M&A opportunities. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Strong growth all around

888 Holdings saw double-digit growth across each of its business verticals in 2020, with total revenue increasing 51.6% year-on-year to $849.7m. The London-based company released its full-year financial results this week, with its share price hitting all-time highs on the back of the positive results.

The best performing vertical was 888’s online casino operations with revenue improving by 63% from 2019 figures. The poker vertical was the next best with 48% growth, followed by a 36% improvement for sports betting, and a 10% increase for bingo operations.

cash and cash equivalents rising almost $100m year-on-year to $190m

888 Holdings is now in a strong financial position, with cash and cash equivalents rising almost $100m year-on-year to $190m. Overall net profit for 2020 was $11.3m, a 72.8% year-on-year drop, but adjusted net profit was $100.6m.

Some of the more notable achievements for the online operator during the pandemic-stricken year included going live with its first-ever in-house sports betting platform. It also launched a new mobile-first poker offering called Poker8 and acquired almost 1.5 million new customers across its various brands. 888 began scaling up its US operations in 2020, now having a presence in seven states.

Expectations of continuing success

The future is looking bright for 888 Holdings, with its momentum continuing into 2021 so far. The company’s board is confident that it will achieve further revenue growth this year.

In the full-year results report, 888 Holdings CEO Itai Pazner spoke about how 2020 was a landmark year for the company despite the global pandemic. He and the board are confident of continued success because of the “Group’s strengths as a product-centric, responsible, and diversified operator.”

Pazner also touched upon 888’s expansion into the US, mentioning that the operator will launch in three new states in 2021.

The UK is still the best performing market for 888’s brands, accounting for 39% of total revenue. US and Americas revenue rose 81% year-on-year and accounted for 11% of the group’s total revenue in 2020.

Looking for possible opportunities

Going forward, 888’s CEO outlined how the company will be looking to make acquisitions in order to build on growth. The company is mainly looking for possible merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities in its core European markets. Speaking to EGR, Pazner said: “In terms of M&A, at the moment there aren’t the attractive M&A opportunities in the US that we are looking for, so we are looking elsewhere.”

One rumor is that 888 is considering buying William Hill’s non-US assets. Caesars Entertainment is in the process of completing its $3.7bn acquisition of William Hill, but it only has an interest in the US assets of the British gambling operator.

If 888 is a target for any US or any other European operator, it’s outside of our control.”

888 is not targeting rapid growth in the US market, preferring to instead work off a three-year plan. This approach includes gradually launching in new states, creating its own infrastructure, and building on its B2B deal with Caesars Entertainment. In response to rumors that US gambling operators are looking at technology-centric European operators such as 888 as potential takeover targets, Pazner said: “If 888 is a target for any US or any other European operator, it’s outside of our control.”



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