Flutter Entertainment, owner of Paddy Power and Fanduel, said it has purchased an initial 51% stake in Serbia’s second largest sports betting and gaming operator, MaxBet, for €141 million, with the aim of expanding in the Balkans.
Flutter said the deal allows it to acquire the remaining 49% in 2029 on similar terms.
It added that the deal aligns with its strategy to target fast-growing regulated markets where it can combine local expertise with its global pricing and technology.
Flutter, the world’s largest online betting company, said the Serbian betting market, valued at €700 million, is attractive due to its relatively low online penetration of around 35% and its online compound annual growth expected to be around 15% by 2025.
MaxBet, which generated fully regulated pro forma revenue of €145 million in the financial year ended June, 44% of which was online, also has a more modest presence in Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia North.
It has an estimated 20% online market share, as well as more than 400 outlets across four markets, a well-known local brand and 95,000 average monthly online players.
Flutter, which generates 78% of its revenue from its main divisions in the United States, Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom, operates in more than 100 countries around the world.
Peter Jackson, chief executive officer of Flutter, said today’s acquisition continues the company’s progress against the strategic priorities it has set for its international division; to buy and build podium positions on regulated markets.
“We believe MaxBet is a great opportunity to replicate the success we have achieved in markets like Georgia, India and Italy by acquiring a strong podium brand, where we see a compelling opportunity to combine this extensive local expertise with the power of Flutter Edge to accelerate and transform growth,” added the CEO.
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2024.