Entain to Acquire SuperSport? 920m EUR Sale Likely for Largest Croatian Betting Company

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Jurica Galoic/PIXSELL
Jurica Galoic/PIXSELL

SuperSport, which has a sponsorship contract with the Croatian Football Federation, and after which the strongest rank of domestic football, i.e., the national cup, is called, is the largest Croatian sports bookmaker. With a 54 percent market share and strong growth in the last five years, it is the market leader, reports Jutarnji List

SuperSport was founded by Danko Ćorić, has been operating on the Croatian market since 2000, and currently has 321 branches, half of which are in Zagreb, Split, and the surroundings of Croatia’s two largest cities. It is necessary to add its online betting offer to the network of SuperSport branches because online betting is becoming more and more common, and in 2019 it was additionally regulated in Croatia by banning the provision of online sports betting services to companies that are not based in Croatia. They have about 900 employees.

In May this year, they signed a contract worth 44 million euros with the Croatian Football Federation and Hrvatski Telekom on distributing television and marketing rights to the First Croatian Football League. In addition, SuperSport has committed to investing eight million euros for the marketing and betting rights of Prva HNL from 2022 to 2026. From this season, the First HNL is called SuperSport HNL.

In 2020, Supersport achieved 131 million euros in gross revenue from games and an underlying profit of 65 million euros. The work is expected to be completed in the last quarter of this year and will depend primarily on regulatory approvals. Radim Haluza, CEO of SuperSport, should then join the board of Entain.

Since 2018, SuperSport has been owned by the Czech SAZKA Group. Shortly after the takeover of SuperSport, there was a split and division of assets between two entrepreneurs, Karel Komarek and Jiri Šmejc. After the split with Komarek, SuperSport belonged to Šmejc, i.e., his company EMMA GAMMA Adriatic. Šmejc is one of the largest Czech entrepreneurs in terms of income, the number of companies he owns, and the businesses he covers. At the beginning of his business development, he collaborated with Peter Kellner, until his untimely death in March of last year, the largest businessman in Central Europe whose wealth was estimated at 17.5 billion dollars.

Since 2012, when he became independent, Šmejc has acquired companies, in addition to sports betting and gambling, in energy, financial services, and e-commerce, among others. In addition to business cooperation, Šmejc and Kellner also shared a common passion – flying airplanes. 

To make the best use of the opportunity in the mentioned geographical area, the Entain group has partnered with EMMA Capital, an investment company based in the Czech Republic. EMMA was previously part of the Sazka Group – owners of Allwyn – which recently won the next UK Lottery license and was the sole owner of SuperSport. Entain and EMMA Capital entered into a partnership and founded Entain CEE, which will own SuperSport. In the newly established Entain CEE, 75% of the shares will be held by Entain and 25% by EMMA.

Central and Eastern Europe represent a very attractive and growing betting market – the estimated value of which is five billion euros. They also recognized this potential in Entain and believe it will grow at least 10% annually until 2025. Entain said that in Central and Eastern Europe, in the context of betting, so far, local operators have largely dominated, who “often fought to increase or consolidate across the region, thus providing a convincing opportunity for Entain.”

“I look forward to joining Entain and further building on this region’s significant opportunity. EMMA’s investment expertise combined with Entain’s world-class platform will give us a competitive advantage in providing opportunities,” said Haluza.

The Times writes that Entain’s purchase is part of a strategy to target more than 50 regulated markets – with a combined betting industry revenue of $40 billion – where it has yet to establish a presence. The company also announced four other transactions by the end of the year, including the purchase of Dutch Avid Gaming for EUR 206 million and BetCity for EUR 850 million. A turning point in their business occurred when Jette Nygaard Andersen (53) became the executive director of Entain – in 20 months of her managing the company, nine new deals were concluded.

“We are excited to have created Entain CEE with EMMA, to support our strategy throughout the Central and Eastern European region, and to have acquired a leading betting and gaming operator in the highly attractive and fully regulated Croatian market. We see Croatia as an exciting, dynamic country, from which Entain CEE is perfectly positioned for expansion,” said Nygaard-Andersen on the occasion of the latest acquisition.

Entain, formerly GVC Holdings, operates in 31 countries and employs more than 25 thousand workers in 20 offices on five continents. Last year they had revenues of £3.9bn with an operating profit of £480m.

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