The possibility of an operator acquisition seemed “impossible” for SuperBet even as recently as 2018, said former Founder and Executive Chairman Sacha Dragic.
However, two recent acquisitions have enabled the Romanian company to expand its reach across new markets without compromising its core values.
Speaking as part of the SBC Leaders podcast, Dragic began discussions by giving an overview of SuperBet and its inception back in 2008, noting the ways in which the company has evolved from a retail leader to an online powerhouse.
He said: “I founded SuperBet in 2008, and we began operating in 2009. Our initial goal was to survive and become an important player in the Romanian market. We went through a process which took us four or five years where we established a retail network. We are both confident and comfortable with our position as a retail leader.
“When the law changed in Romania, and online betting and gaming was legalised, we started learning about how to operate in the digital world. In 2017, we succeeded in becoming an online leader – that was the moment that we then started to work on the international part of our development strategy.”
In the last few months, Dragic explained that SuperBet’s recent acquisitions of Napoleon Casino and Lucky 7 has helped maintain an ‘entrepreneurial DNA’ within the company.
He added: “I think these two acquisitions proved that you need to evaluate all of the time. If you’d have asked me in 2018 whether SuperBet will ever complete an acquisition, I’d have told you that it would be impossible. I have big respect for Bet365, I like the company and their overall strategy – and I was a very very big believer in a single brand and organic growth.
“All of the acquisitions which were done when I was the CEO of SuperBet were tech companies that would bring us the technical capabilities in order to grow. But I was never thinking about acquiring an operator.
“Then Johnny came in, who had much more experience in M&A due to his time at Flutter. He said that we should be much more open minded to the idea of acquisition. We then started to have those conversations with the founder of Lucky 7, in which we agreed a venture capital investment to start the business. That then led to us gaining a majority stake in the company.
“This was one of those good examples where we wanted to keep that entrepreneurial DNA within SuperBet. That’s also why Lucky 7 operates almost independently of us; we are looking to see what makes sese for us to do together. But most of the important business decisions are made by Lucky 7 founders, minority stakeholders and Lucky 7 management.
“That’s something which I think is very important – we should not put our main objective in the kind of synergies and integration, but more on keeping value. And value means putting talent first.”
Listen to the full podcast here.