888 bolsters UK bingo presence via £18m acquisition from JPJ’s Jet

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888, through its wholly-owned Brigend Limited subsidiary, has announced the £18m acquisition of a selection of brands from the JPJ Group, including Costa Bingo, City Bingo and Sing Bingo.

Via the acquisition, which is to see £12m paid upon closing of the transaction and the remaining £6m in September of this year, 888 is to own a clutch of brands that already appear of its Dragonfish platform.

The purchase by the online gaming operator sees it acquire the operating business Mandalay via the acquisition of certain assets of Jet Management Group and Jet Media, which itself falls under the banner of the JPJ Group.

888 states that as a result of this latest move it is “consolidating its position as one of the leading bingo operators in the UK,” having secured the portfolio which previously operated as business-to-business brands, but will now function on a business-to-customer basis.

Having previously operated on Dragonfish, the purchase gives “the group full control of these successful brands from a marketing perspective, to support and further strengthen its position in the UK online bingo market”.

Itai Pazner, chief executive officer of 888, explained: “The group continues to deliver its stated strategy of expanding across global regulated markets. This expansion is underpinned by organic growth initiatives supported by exploring value-enhancing M&A.

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of this portfolio of brands which includes the well-established Costa Bingo. Having been developed on Dragonfish, the group’s first-class B2B platform, we are confident that consolidating these brands into our existing B2C portfolio will deliver synergies and growth opportunities by applying the full extent of 888’s core capabilities in product, marketing and customer relationship management to their operations.”

In a media statement, it was noted that the divestment of Mandalay is to enable JPJ to “concentrate on a more focused brand strategy in the UK through Jackpotjoy, the market’s leading bingo-led brand and optimise the group’s return on its marketing investment”.

Mandalay generated approximately £11m of revenue and approximately £3.7m of profit before tax attributable to the assets, in the twelve months to December 31, 2018.