FDJ €2.6bn Kindred Takeover Bid Would Create 'European Champion'

January 22, 2024
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France’s national lottery operator FDJ is poised to execute a takeover bid for online gambling operator Kindred that it says would “give birth to a European champion”.
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France’s national lottery operator FDJ is poised to execute a takeover bid for online gambling operator Kindred that it says would “give birth to a European champion”.

The offer, which is unanimously recommended by the Kindred board of directors, is made at SEK130 (€11.39) per share, which values the Stockholm-listed company at €2.6bn.

FDJ, which was 72 percent owned by the French government until 2018, claims that the acquisition would make it the second-largest gambling operator in Europe and help accelerate its growth. 

“This price represents a premium of 24 percent on the closing price on January 19, 2024, and 35 percent compared to the weighted average price of the last thirty trading days,” according to FDJ’s announcement on Monday (January 22).

A public purchase offer will be opened on February 19 for a maximum of nine months; however, any takeover bid will be subject to regulatory approval and the acquisition by FDJ of at least 90 percent of the capital of Kindred.

If the deal does go through, the combined group would only operate in markets that are locally regulated or in the process of being so, FDJ said.

Online casino gambling is currently illegal in France, but there has been renewed lobbying to open up the market in recent months, including reports that FDJ has petitioned the government for a monopoly licence.

Kindred has, meanwhile, been embroiled in legal action in Norway over its activities in the country, which it argues are covered by EU free trade laws, but that local regulators say is in defiance of its local gambling monopoly.

Nils Andén, CEO of Kindred, said the merger between the companies “will create a leader in gambling, with the financial and strategic capabilities necessary to continue to expand its international presence”.

“By partnering with FDJ, I am convinced that Kindred will be able to accelerate the implementation of long-term strategic projects, continue its growth in its main markets and offer its customers a trusted source of entertainment,” Andén said. 

FDJ also published a financial update on January 22 which revealed that there was a “good level of activity in the fourth quarter”, with revenue up 13.8 percent to €747m and up 7.1 percent on a like-for-like basis.

In 2023, FDJ completed the acquisition of Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) in November and acquired online horseracing betting site ZEturf Group in September. 

Stéphane Pallez, chairman and CEO of the FDJ group, said the planned acquisition “will allow the FDJ group to present an even more diversified and balanced profile".

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