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Cherry year-end report 2018

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Cherry year-end report 2018Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

An eventful year with continued good development in the final quarter

 

FOURTH QUARTER

• Consolidated revenue increased by 49 percent to MSEK 904 (608), with organic revenue growth amounting to 41 percentage points. Corporate acquisitions contributed 0.5 percentage point and currency 7.5 percentage points.
• Profitability improved and EBITDA increased by 40 percent to MSEK 198 (141) and the EBITDA margin was 22 percent (23).
• Profit for the period amounted to MSEK 120 (18).
• Earnings per share before and after dilution amounted to SEK 1.14 (0.05) and SEK 1.14 (0.05) respectively.
• European Entertainment Intressenter BidCo AB (“EE Intressenter”), a company jointly controlled by a consortium of Bridgepoint and major shareholders in Cherry AB, announced a takeover bid for SEK 87 in cash per Class A and B share in Cherry AB. The independent bid committee for Cherry recommended that shareholders accept the public offer.
• Companies in the Online Gaming business area secured a total of eight Swedish gaming licenses in December.
• An Extraordinary General Meeting in November elected Rolf Åkerlind as a new member of the Board and approved the decision to acquire the remaining five percent of the shares in Game Lounge Sweden AB.

FULL-YEAR

• Consolidated revenue increased by 44 percent to MSEK 3,236 (2,252), of which organic growth amounted to 3 percent. Corporate acquisitions contributed 1 percentage point and currency 8 percentage points.
• Profitability improved and EBITDA increased by 89 percent to MSEK 813 (429) and the EBITDA margin was 25 percent (19).
• Profit for the period amounted to MSEK 487 (110). Profit was affected positively by an item affecting comparability of MSEK 50 regarding the reassessment of the value of Highlight Games.
• Earnings per share before and after dilution amounted to SEK 4.45 (0.53) and SEK 4.44 (0.53) respectively.
• As for the 2017 financial year, Cherry AB’s Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that no dividend be paid for the 2018 financial year.

EVENTS AFTER THE END OF THE PERIOD

• On 12 February, EE intressenter announced that it controls approximately 98.2 percent of the total number of shares in Cherry AB (publ) after the expiry of the final acceptance period, and that EE Intressenter intends to initiate a compulsory acquisition procedure and to promote a delisting of the shares of series B in Cherry AB from Nasdaq Stockholm.
• On 12 February, Cherry announced the initiation of early redemption of senior secured callable bonds. In connection with the redemption, the bonds will be delisted from Nasdaq Stockholm.

Comments by the CEO

An excellent year for all companies in the Cherry Group

Cherry’s development in 2018 can be summarized with one word: excellent. On almost all measurements, our operations delivered in line with our expectations. Financially, we have performed well with total growth of 44 percent, and full-year revenue amounting to MSEK 3,236 (2,252) with an EBITDA margin of 25 percent (19).

For a significant part of the year, we worked to prepare for the re-regulation of the Swedish gaming market. We were involved right from the inquiry phase prior to the legislation being drafted and have participated in issues on which we have specialist knowledge on an ongoing basis. We are satisfied with the framework, which should contribute to a high level of channelization, which is important for the long-term perspective that our market needs to be able to develop in a way that assures all stakeholders the security they need.

It is reasonable that gaming companies be taxed and, to some extent, controlled when it comes to marketing, but the legislators must be aware that this is an industry in which customers are aware of their options and can therefore quickly shift their preferences. This can result in tax revenue and preventive actions from game addiction being lost. The more laws there are and the more detailed the regulations, the greater the risk that companies position themselves outside the licensing system, with the effect that everyone loses.

We now have only a few weeks’ experience of the Swedish regulations and it is too early yet to have a clear idea of how development is progressing for Cherry and the rest of the industry. Our experience of similar changes in other countries is that the companies and brands that cope best are those with a clear digital strategy, that are at the forefront in technology and their customer relationships, and are led by entrepreneurs. This is the core of Cherry’s business model and the companies within our Group hold strong positions, are strongly focused on what they do and are quick to grasp opportunities.

Marketing investments are often in focus among investors. During the quarter, business area Online Gaming accounted for the largest share, MSEK 253, and we can see that these investments continued to yield good returns. The business area’s revenue for the fourth quarter rose by 48 percent, to MSEK 722 (485) and the EBITDA result amounted to MSEK 141 (92). During the quarter, expenses affecting the comparison between periods were incurred, relating to doubtful receivables and gaming tax of MSEK 45.2, and impacting earnings. Underlying EBITDA amounted to MSEK 186.7 and the underlying EBITDA margin was 25.9 percent.

A few days ago, the ICE trade fair closed. This is one of the industry’s foremost meeting places, and Yggdrasil once again held a prominent position there as the leading game developer. Its attendance at ICE is the company’s largest initiative in presenting itself and its new games. For the third consecutive year, Yggdrasil received the industry’s “Innovator of the year” award.

The other company in business area Game Development, Highlight Games, has now launched its virtual football game in Italy together with some of the country’s largest gaming operators, Eurobet and Sisal. We believe that this game can quickly capture market share in one of Europe’s foremost football nations.

On 18 December 2018, European Entertainment Intressenter BidCo AB (“EE Intressenter”), announced a public cash offer of SEK 87 per share to Cherry AB shareholders. EE Intressenter is a company jointly controlled by a consortium consisting of Bridgepoint Advisers Limited, acting as manager for and on behalf of, Bridgepoint Europe VI Fund, major shareholders in Cherry AB and others.

The Board of Directors’ independent bid committee recommended that Cherry’s shareholders accept the bid from EE Intressenter. In its assessment, the recommendation took into account factors including the thorough analysis performed by the company’s financial advisers Carnegie. Key components of the bid committee’s assessment were the consideration of the bid premium over an extended time frame, the major shareholders’ decision to participate and changed market environments for listed gaming companies in Sweden.

On 25 January 2019, EE Intressenter announced that the offering was accepted by shareholders holding 45,425,416 shares, corresponding to approximately 43.0 percent of the shares in Cherry. The shares submitted in the offering, together with the shares controlled by the Consortium, totalled 4,988,000 Class A shares and 90,537,784 Class B shares in Cherry, corresponding to approximately 90.4 percent of the total number of shares and 93.3 percent of the total number of votes in Cherry AB. EE Intressenter extended the acceptance deadline to 8 February and announced on 12 February that it had secured approximately 98.2 percent of the total number of shares in Cherry. EE Intressenter intends to initiate a compulsory acquisition procedure regarding the shares in Cherry that were not tendered in the offer and to promote a delisting of the shares of series B in Cherry from Nasdaq Stockholm, the operations will continue in a private setting.

In a way, Cherry can be said to be Sweden’s oldest gaming company. The Group’s roots date back to 1963, when Bill Lindwall and Rolf Lundström initiated gaming operations under the name Restaurang AB Rouletter. In 1968, cooperation was initiated with AB Roulett konsult & Spelautomater, which had been founded Per Hamberg and Lars Kling. In 1972, the name of the company was changed to Cherry, and the cherry symbol began to be used as a trademark. The period as a listed company began in 1997, with the company’s listing on the SBI list, and after the current planned delisting of the company’s series B shares from Nasdaq Stockholm, Mid Cap list, to continue the business in a private setting.

The foundation of Cherry’s development has been, and remains, to have a clear focus on entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, as well as offering the best workplace and development opportunities for all of our employees. We will now work with partly new owners to implement the existing strategy, while, at the same time, being able to implement efficient investments to safeguard Cherry’s market position.

I would like to thank all of the shareholders, employees, partners and other stakeholders who have participated in Cherry’s journey thus far. I am convinced that Cherry and its Group companies will remain significant players in the gaming and entertainment industry for many years to come and I look forward to following developments.

Gunnar Lind
Acting CEO

 

MARKET OUTLOOK
The gaming market is currently growing strongly and Cherry estimates that demand in the Group’s largest geographic markets will continue to develop favourably. The Group continuously studies conditions for new business in related business areas and geographic markets within Europe and beyond.

The Group focuses on generating value for shareholders by participating actively in the development of new and existing companies in the gaming, media and entertainment sector. The objective is for the companies to become market leaders in their respective areas by building on their core values of entrepreneurship, responsibility and commitment. These are important prerequisites for the Group to be able to achieve its financial targets and to continue its successful profitable growth, through both organic growth and acquisitions, in existing and new verticals and geographic markets.


Source: European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Cherry year-end report 2018

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NSoft announced as GENERAL SPONSOR at MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit 2019

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MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit, also known as the Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Summit and Awards is the leading conference in the Baltic and Scandinavian region gathering region oriented operators, software providers, and industry regulators for a full day of learning and networking.

We are excited to announce that NSoft will join the sponsors’ list as General Sponsor.

NSoft is an award-winning internationally recognized software solutions provider for the gaming and betting industry. Its product portfolio includes a turnkey solution for managing betting business, retail and omni-channel solutions, Virtual sports bettingSportsbook and Draw based games.

Do not miss the chance to meet Mr. Omerspahic during the conference or if you need more information about NSoft, contact us at info@nsoft.com or sales@nsoft.com.

MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit will take place on the 9th of May at Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel and the agenda includes compliance panel discussions about the state of the gambling industry in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, presented by local regulators Lolita Sumskaite (Head of Unit at Ministry of Finance, Lithuania), Signe Birne (Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of the Republic of Latvia) and Taivo Põrk (Ministry of Finance, Estonia).

Among the compliance panel discussion, the agenda also includes a special IMGL MasterClass™ which is titled as “It’s Hot in the Nordics: IMGL Mega-Panel” and will stress on regulatory Trends, IP blocking and payment blocking in Scandinavia. Among experts of the MasterClass, you will also find the Danish regulator, Birgitte Sand (Director of the Danish Gambling Authority), Rolf Sims (Public Affairs Manager for Kindred Group in Norway and Board Chairman of the newly formed Norwegian Trade Association for Online Gambling Companies) and Gustaf Hoffstedt (General Secretary at the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling).

Tech and industry hot topics related talks include panel discussions about the future of the gambling industry, the innovations and use of CRM systems, the use of AI in the gambling industry, outsourcing, safe gambling, and the latest about AML/KYC.

Those interested in the D A CH region, will not be disappointed as the agenda once again features a compliance panel discussion about the German language speaking countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, under the expert guidance of Dr. Joerg Hofmann (Partner at MELCHERS LAW).

You can Register here or View the Agenda for more details and speakers!

In 2019, the conference will include the inaugural Baltic and Scandinavian Gaming Awards which will recognize the top 21 companies in their respective categories for their hard work and commitment in the region. You can find more details about the shortlist and how you can take part in deciding the winners on the following page.

Browse the official event website here: www.marebalticumgaming.com

Make sure you take advantage of this unique opportunity of learning and networking with the gambling industry in the Baltic and Scandinavian region via the MARE BALTICUM Gaming platform which has been launched in 2018 and is committed to bringing together industry shareholders and government officials from the Baltic and Scandinavian region on a yearly base.


Source: European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: NSoft announced as GENERAL SPONSOR at MARE BALTICUM Gaming Summit 2019

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Leaders Group, a new operating company which will bring Advance’s B2B sports, esports and gaming businesses under one umbrella

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Advance Announces Formation of Leaders Group, a Global B2B Sports, Esports and Gaming Intelligence Platform and Appoints Warren S. Thune as CEO

Advance and its subsidiary, American City Business Journals, today announce the formation of Leaders Group, a new operating company which will bring Advance’s B2B sports, esports and gaming businesses under one umbrella, and the appointment of Warren S. Thune as Leaders Group CEO.

Leaders Group will build on the strong foundation that Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily have built over the last 20+ years as the authoritative voice in the business of sports. The group will also include Leaders, The Esports Observer and Newzoo. These trusted brands will continue to be led by their talented management teams, but will now work collaboratively to enhance and accelerate product development, provide superior access to their collective global data assets, and build and capitalize on an increasingly connected global professional network to better serve professionals in the sports and entertainment industries.

Mr. Thune joins from Gartner and CEB where he spent fourteen years in a series of executive roles culminating in serving as Group President, SaaS and Technology Enabled Services. Prior to Gartner, he was a Senior Partner at Oliver Wyman. Mr. Thune holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

The addition of Mr. Thune and his business building experience will elevate the value proposition offered to Leaders Group’s customers through the enhancement of the group’s product and service offering, which includes:

  • Market Intelligence and Analytics – Critical and timely global data and intelligence needed to support daily business decisions.
  • Networks – Access and connectivity to globally relevant networks, such as league operators, team owners, facility operators, vendors, brands and merchants to facilitate knowledge sharing, best practices, commerce and opportunities across the global sports, technology, media and entertainment ecosystem.
  • Events – High value events with local to global perspectives through data-driven content and access to relevant industry thought leaders, practitioners and investors.
  • Media – Delivery of real-time news, insights and analysis from industry and functional experts.        

Whitney Shaw, CEO of American City Business Journals and Co-Founder of Sports Business Journal, will become Chairman of the newly established Leaders Group board of directors to which Mr. Thune will report.  Mr. Shaw said: “Warren is a talented executive with a strong track record of building high performing teams and businesses. The business models Warren has executed throughout his impressive career, his ability to manage a global organization and his experience implementing acquisition strategies make him the ideal individual for the role. By combining our media, events and analytics holdings under a single corporate entity, we will be able to more effectively serve a customer base that is increasingly trying to understand how to best operate in a more technologically connected sports and entertainment ecosystem.”

Janine Shelffo, Chief Strategy and Development Officer at Advance, stated, “The business of sports, esports and gaming is a multi-billion-dollar global business with significant unmet demand for more timely data and information and better intelligence to help participants optimize their businesses. We are enthusiastic about working with Warren and the Leaders Group team to seek additional investment and acquisition opportunities to create the most compelling and highest quality insights for clients in the industry.”

Warren S. Thune commented: “I am thrilled to be joining Leaders Group. This is an exciting opportunity to further enhance these industry leading companies and elevate our platform into the premier intelligence provider for global sports, esports and gaming professionals. I look forward to working with each of the Leaders Group businesses and their leadership teams to execute this vision.”

About Advance

Advance is a private, family-owned company that operates and invests in a broad range of media, communications and technology businesses globally.  The Advance family of companies includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, 1010data, POP, Stage Entertainment and, upon the expected completion of its acquisition in Q2, Turnitin. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Discovery, Charter Communications and Reddit. For further information, please visit www.advance.com

SOURCE Advance


Source: European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Leaders Group, a new operating company which will bring Advance’s B2B sports, esports and gaming businesses under one umbrella

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First-of-its kind social platform allowing users to ‘Pick a Fight, Talk Trash and Get Rewarded by FANDOM SPORTS

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FANDOM SPORTS Teams Up with Interdependence Public Relations for Upcoming App Launch

The highly anticipated FANDOM SPORTS App will launch in June of 2019 as a first-of-its kind social platform allowing users to ‘Pick a Fight, Talk Trash and Get Rewarded.’

FANDOM SPORTS Media (FANDOM SPORTS) is pleased to announce the company has teamed up with Chicago-based public relations agency, Interdependence Public Relations for the upcoming global launch of the FANDOM SPORTS App, which is slated for release in June of 2019.

The promising, first-of-its-kind app looks to fill a current gap in the social media space for sports fans. The FANDOM SPORTS App is a new and innovative platform where sports aficionados can specifically go to cheer, argue and celebrate their favorite teams. The app also offers real-world rewards and experiences, such as custom trips to the biggest sporting events in the world, to its most loyal users.

“This is an exhilarating time for us at FANDOM SPORTS and we are very pleased to work with this renowned agency to help get the word out to eager fans who will now have a place to express themselves,” said Henri Holm, CEO and Director of FANDOM SPORTS.

IDPR has assisted some of the most notable players in the gaming and technology space including, PUBG Mobile, among others.

“We’re incredibly excited to take part in this groundbreaking launch,” said Laura Waldron, VP of Client Services for Interdependence Public Relations. “This app promises to be a slam dunk and we are eager for users to experience it themselves.”

To learn more about FANDOM SPORTS and the upcoming app launch visit: www.fandomsports.net.

About FANDOM SPORTS:

“Play. Predict. Get Rewarded.” FANDOM SPORTS Media is an entertainment and gaming company “Hell Bent” on finding and creating the best interactive sports and esports content. FANDOM SPORTS allow super fans to unleash their primal sports passions by engaging with other fans, cheering for their favourite teams and players and jeering their opponents.

The FANDOM SPORTS app allows users to unleash their primal sports passion by allowing fans to play, predict and get rewarded on real time sport and esports events. The company’s 1-2-1 strategy is built-on a Blockchain Platform two global apps with one FANCOIN economy for super fans to fight one another within an entertaining mobile application and to get rewarded for the action.

SOURCE FANDOM SPORTS


Source: European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: First-of-its kind social platform allowing users to ‘Pick a Fight, Talk Trash and Get Rewarded by FANDOM SPORTS

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