888’s corporate transformation continues as bingo business sold to Saphalata

888holdings has completed the sale of its B2B and B2C Bingo business to Saphalata Holdings, a major development in its corporate restructuring. 

A member of the Broadway Gaming Group, Saphalata initially agreed to buy 888’s Dragonfish brand for a total cash consideration of $45,25 million (£37.4m) back in December 2021. 

The transaction saw $45.25m payable on completion of the deal this week, with a further $2m unconditionally payable in one year, during which time 888 will continue to provide ‘certain transitional services’ in accordance with an agreed fee schedule.

Based in the UK, 888 reports that Dragonfish generated gaming revenue of around $25m (£19m) during the first half of 2022, in addition to approximately $54m (£41m) in the past 12 months – by acquiring the unit, Broadway aims to become the leading UK online bingo provider.

“We are delighted to complete the acquisition of 888’s high quality bingo business and platform,” remarked David Butler, CEO of Broadway Gaming.

“By combining these with our existing business and brands, which include ‘Butlers Bingo’, we will be able to achieve an even stronger global footprint in key regulated bingo markets.

“We see further expansion opportunities in both the B2C and B2B segments, and are very excited about working with the management team to deliver on our plans for the future, as we look to become the preeminent online bingo business globally.”

For 888, the development represents an opportunity for the LSE-listed global gambling group to maintain focus on its strategy to build ‘market-leading positions’ in attractive-regulated markets. 

The sale follows on from 888’s finalised acquisition of William Hill International earlier this month, having purchased the non-US assets of the UK heritage bookmaker from Caesars Entertainment for a total of £1.9bn last year.

In the aftermath of the sale, the company has undertaken a senior leadership reshuffle, appointing several William Hill executives to key positions, and most recently announcing the addition of three new Independent Non-Executive Directors.

Moving forward, 888 detailed that its international strategy will be driven by a focus on four key areas – proprietary technology, product leadership, leading brands, and marketing expertise.

Itai Pazner, 888 CEO, said: “I would like to express my immense gratitude for all of the hard work of the bingo team over the years, and in particular their unwavering commitment to the business since we announced the transaction. 

“As part of a dedicated bingo operator, I am very confident in the future prospects of the bingo business and wish the team well.

“The successful completion of this strategic Ttransaction enables 888 to further increase its focus on integration with William Hill and delivering on our mission to be one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming businesses.”

888 still has one major hurdle to overcome in pursuit of its strategy, however, stemming from the £1bn bond secured to support the William Hill buyout. Reportedly, both Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan, the banks which underwrote the investment, are struggling to find investors to back the bond.

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