888: revenue up, Ladbrokes update
A lot’s going in the world of 888, one of the world’s leading online gambling companies (and a CAP Listed Program).
For starters, the company’s reported a positive revenue growth of 18 percent in its last quarter of 2010.
“According to the report, the fourth quarter of last year continued a yearlong surge by the company,” writes Earl Burton at PokerNewsDaily.com.
“For the last three months of 2010, 888 showed revenues of $71.3 million, a sizeable 18% increase over the same time period in 2009,” Burton continues, explaining that the revenue increase came from several business sectors. Bingo, casino, and poker were all winners, with increases ranging from 17% to 28%.
“We are particularly encouraged by our poker business, which showed 28% sequential growth,” 888 Chief Gigi Levy said. “2011 has started well and, given that our various business initiatives are progressing as planned, we expect to grow the business further during the year.”
Ladbrokes and Wink Bingo
That strong financial news help drive the company’s price up in the face of a potential takeover from Ladbrokes. But other factors may be working in the opposite direction.
According to Ben Harrington at the Telegraph, Ladbrokes is concerned about the financial results of 888’s recent acquisition of Wink Bingo, “and its directors’ future payout from the deal.”
That deal goes as follows, per a statement from 888 itself: “Prior to payment of the full earn-out amount … 888 may not declare or pay any dividends or make distributions to shareholders, pay extraordinary management or advisory fees and bonuses, make any material acquisitions or disposals; or take any steps to delist or suspend 888′s shares.”
Whether or not the Ladbrokes deal will be scuppered as a result is still highly speculative. There’s a lot of analysis over 888’s acquisition, but the company has proved itself shrewd in its business dealings in the past.
As a result, 888 has had to reschedule Wink Bingo payments, “after the strong performance of its acquisition left it unable to settle the full earn-out payment of up to £48.7m due in May,” reports EGR’s Stephen Carter.
“Should there be a change of control at 888 before it has completed its payment for Wink – such as the long-discussed takeover by Ladbrokes – Daub could compel 888 to sell the bingo business to facilitate repayment, with the same clause being triggered should Gigi Levy cease to be on the board of 888 or if the operator defaults on payments,” Carter continues.