Fidelity acquires Worldpay U
S financial services corporation Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) has struck a $35bn (£26.4bn/€30.8bn) deal to acquire Worldpay, one of the iGaming industry’s most prominent payment providers. The takeover has been agreed 14 months after Worldpay was bought by rival Vantiv for $10.63bn in a deal that saw the combined business, which has since operated under the Worldpay name, offer services in 146 countries and 126 currencies. Worldpay’s clients include online gambling companies, state lotteries and land-based casinos. The merger values Worldpay at about $43bn, including debt, which FIS said that it expects to refinance.
The transaction is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals and is expected to close in the second half of this year. FIS shareholders will have 53% of the combined business’ shareholding, versus Worldpay shareholders with 47%.
“Scale matters in our rapidly changing industry,” said Gary Norcross, who will remain chairman, president and chief executive of FIS following the takeover, with Worldpay’s executive chairman and chief executive, Charles Drucker, serving as the new board’s executive vice-chairman. “Upon closing later this year, our two powerhouse organisations will combine forces to offer a customer-driven combination of scale, global presence and the industry’s broadest range of global financial solutions. As a combined organisation, we will bring the most modern solutions targeted at the highest growth markets.”
Worldpay was established in Britain more than 40 years ago and was spun off for just £2bn from the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2010 as a condition under European Union FIS and Worldpay will have combined annual turnover of about $12bn and adjusted core earnings of about $5bn, with organic revenue growth of 6-9% and $700m of savings anticipated over three years.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, told the Reuters news agency that the merger will give the combined business “a very strong position by which to play the structural growth in digital payments”.
The takeover has been announced at a time of increasing consolidation in the global payments sector. Italy-based Nexi plans to float in the coming months in what could be one of Europe’s biggest initial public offerings this year, while US-based Fiserv acquired payment processor First Data for $22bn in January.
MGA launches consultation on
exclusion system T
he Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has commenced a preliminary market consultation to gather opinion on its plans to launch a unified self-exclusion system in the country’s regulated gambling market.
First proposed in May of last year, the unified system would mean that players would be able to block access to all Malta licensees’ services when they self-exclude from one. While operators are already required to offer players the option of self-excluding, there is nothing to link different companies’ databases, meaning a player blocked from one operator’s sites could gamble via another.
The MGA said that a unified system would support its ongoing aim to implement further controls to help prevent gambling-related harm, with a similar system in place for land-based operators in the country.
LeoVegas launches new GoGoCasino brand
wedish operator LeoVegas has unveiled GoGoCasino as the first brand on its new proprietary multi-brand platform. LeoVegas has said GoGoCasino will complement and diversify the group’s brand portfolio, which, as of earlier this month, is operated under the collective name Brands of Leo.
A small team from within LeoVegas has developed the new brand in line with the operator’s strategy to increase efficiency by utilising existing resources from within the business.
LeoVegas CEO Gustaf Hagman has said that GoGoCasino will initially go live in Sweden before being rolled out to various other markets: “The GoGoCasino brand has a modern and fun tone that conveys a smooth experience and fills a hole in the market. For customers who value simplicity and speed, GoGoCasino sets an entirely new standard for
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the industry. The start and response from customers have been very positive and we are capitalising on the group’s strengths, experience and economies of scale.” The multi-brand strategy and Brands of Leo form part of the operator’s ongoing growth plans, with the idea of achieving €600m (£514.7m/$678.7m) in revenue and €100m in EBITDA by 2021.
MGA explained that the system would work by a player self-excluding from one site, with the operator in question then passing their information on to all other licensees in Malta, who can then block the individual from their platforms. The regulator said it may also consider expanding system to incorporate operators that are not licensed in Malta, but target customers in the country by virtue of a licence in another jurisdiction or allow operators to plug into the system on a voluntary basis. The system could also feature functionality for third-party exclusion as well as operator-imposed exclusion, on the basis of its active duty of care towards its customers. The regulator is in the process of pursuing tools and means to further strengthen the protection afforded to consumers. As part of this effort, the MGA has recently published the Player Protection Directive to set out consumer protection controls for licensees, as well as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive to set out a formal complaint- handling process.
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