OK GO: UK’s Competition and Market Authority Clears Evolution/NetEnt Merger

Author Thomas Wolf
November 27, 2020 3 min read
by Thomas Wolf

The United Kingdom market regulator, the Competition and Market Authority (CMA), has cleared the way for the massive merger between two of Europe’s biggest gambling companies.

The $2.26 billion deal between worldwide live casino specialist Evolution (formerly Evolution Gaming) and Sweden’s famous slots producer NetEnt can now go ahead.

The CMA’s approval was vital as it is an influential body in Europe, and the companies wouldn’t want to lose anything in the UK market.

The plan will see Evolution come out as a 90% shareholder in NetEnt, effectively taking over the company.

The CMA announced its decision to clear the offer on the 16th of November. We first covered the deal when Evolution first announced its takeover offer back in June.

“We will be investigating whether or not this deal may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services,” the CMA said when it started its inquiry at the end of September.

Massive Deals

Despite the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global gambling market, 2020 has been a big year for international gaming deals.

Caesars Entertainment and William Hill merged in a long-awaited £2.9 billion ($3.85 million) deal in September.

Back in May, UK based Flutter Entertainment and poker giants The Stars Group merged in the world’s biggest ever gambling deal – valued at a cool $12 billion.

Marketplace Analysis

This latest deal between Evolution and NetEnt saw the investigation open to public comment as well as professional market analysis.

Both parties were given until the 5th of October to state their cases before the investigation moved onto the market analysis. In this case, the CMA initially ruled that neither party’s evidence was satisfactory – meaning it continued its investigation.

However, it has now been confirmed that the eventual analysis found nothing wrong with the deal.

The CMA has yet to release the details of its report. It has confirmed that “the full text of the decision will be published shortly.”

The Maltese Competition and Markets Authority also gave the OK to the merger in late September.

However, as London is one of Europe’s most important financial centers (for the moment), the Maltese regulator’s decision is less important in this case than that of the CMA.

Share and Share Alike

Executives at NetEnt and Evolution must be highly pleased with the news, although no official statement has been released yet.

The reported offer from Evolution of $2.26 billion values each NetEnt share at $9.29 apiece.

That’s a 43% markup on NetEnt’s share prices on July 23rd when Evolution first publicly announced its offer.

Evolution initially intended that the deal would complete on November 2nd. That’s now been pushed back to an unspecified date.

This deal is also of interest to US gamblers, as both NetEnt and Evolution have inked contracts with major operators in America over the past year.

For the latest updates on this developing story, plus much more from the global online casino market, keep checking online.casino/news.

Author Thomas Wolf

Author

Thomas Wolf

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