Offer to acquire shares held by minority shareholders launched

Mangas Gaming SAS, a French gambling group with interests in online gaming and sports betting, announced two major industry transactions as the week came to a close. The group, which operates Betclic, revealed it has signed an agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Bet-at-home.com AG from its founders Franz Omer and Jochen Dickinger, and that it will launch a public offer to acquire the shares held by the minority shareholders.

Bet-at-home is a Malta-licensed company with a registered player base of over a million. It was founded in Wels, Austria in 1999 and has since grown to one of the most successful online sports betting, poker and casino operations in Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe.

Mangas also announced that it has successfully acquired all the operations of Expekt, a major Scandinavian-facing online sports betting company that services Northern European markets, and has significant interests as an online poker operator.

In a statement Friday, Mangas reported that the completion of the Bet-at-home acquisition and tender offer is subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approvals customary for this type of transaction.

Mangas Gaming is offering all shareholders of Bet-at-home.com AG the chance to sell their shares for Euro 11.2 per share - a premium of 29 percent over the one month average share price of the firm, computed as of March 4th, 2009, 63 percent over the three-month average share price and 52 percent over the six-month average share price.

The offer period will run from March 11th, 2009 until April 7th, 2009.

"After the acquisition of Betclic in 2008 and the recent announcement of the acquisition of Expekt, one of the leading online betting and gaming company in Scandinavia [see previous InfoPowa reports - ed.], this transaction perfectly complements the Mangas Gaming strategy of creating a strong European-wide network of online sports betting and gaming operations", said Isabelle Parize, Chief Executive Officer of Mangas Gaming.

In a joint statement, Bet-at-home founders Franz Omer and Jochen Dickinger said: "We are happy to welcome Mangas Gaming as shareholder of Bet-at-home.com AG which gives bet-at-home.com AG the opportunity to join one of the leading online gaming and betting networks in Europe. We also appreciate that the shareholders of Bet-at-home.com AG are given the opportunity to sell their shares to Mangas Gaming."

Regarding its takeover of Expekt, management at Mangas Gaming claims the move sees Mangas enter the top 5 online sportsbetting operations in Europe, with gross gaming revenues amounting to around Euro 200 million in 2009, well over 4 million registered clients and a staff of about 500 people.

Parize said that Mangas now has a presence in over 25 countries and benefits from a balanced breakdown of its activities over continental Europe, offering its services in 24 different languages.

The company plans to continue persuing its pan-European development strategy in the fast-growing industry Internet gambling industry, said Parize.

Both transactions, which remain subject to customary regulatory approvals, will be financed through the existing resources of Mangas Gaming, which is co-controlled by Financiere Lov, Stephane Courbit's patrimonial holding company, and Societe des Bains de Mer (SBM), a major Monaco land casino and hotel owner.

Lazard acted as exclusive financial adviser in the transactions. Financial amounts were not revealed, although a figure of Euro125 million for Expekt has been rumoured recently, and Bet-at-home’s most recent market capitalisation was at Euro 38.2 million.

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