French lottery and gaming giant La Française des Jeux (FDJ) has announced its intentions to make an offer to acquire the entire outstanding share capital of Kindred Group, the operator of Unibet. This news comes after a report from the Wall Street Journal confirmed the takeover offer, which is set to be officially announced on January 22nd.
Kindred Group has been undergoing a strategic review initiated by its board in April 2023, with the goal of exploring options to deliver shareholder value. As part of this process, the company has considered potential mergers or sales, leading to the possibility of a takeover offer. These developments have been driven by pressure from activist investor Corvex Management, as well as previous attempts by Kindred’s board to engage with other operators and private equity funds for a potential transaction in 2022.
The strategic review has brought significant changes to Kindred Group, including the departure of long-serving chief executive Henrik Tjärnström and most of the C-level team. In addition, the company has announced plans to withdraw from the North American market by Q2 2024, resulting in layoffs of up to 300 employees.
FDJ’s bid to acquire Kindred Group comes as the company has been expanding its operations and modernizing its offerings. Recent acquisitions, such as the Irish National Lottery and horse race betting operator ZeTurf, have allowed FDJ to diversify its business beyond lottery, poker, and sports betting. The company’s revenue for the first nine months of 2023 was reported at €1.88bn, with sports betting and igaming contributing €360m, marking a 9.3% growth.
Should the acquisition of Kindred Group go through, FDJ will further expand its geographic footprint and gain access to a proprietary sports betting platform. The full year results for Kindred Group in 2023 are set to be announced on February 7th, with more developments expected to follow in this ongoing story.