Evolution Quest to Buy NetEnt Clears CMA Hurdle

Live Casino specialist Evolution (formerly Evolution Gaming) has secured regulatory approval to acquire online casino supplier NetEnt in a deal that values the latter at SEK19.6 billion (approx. $2.2 billion).

Evolution announced Monday that the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has given the go-ahead to the multi-billion deal.

Approval from the CMA was one of the last hurdles Evolution had to clear in order to be able to close the transaction. The UK watchdog launched an inquiry into the deal in September to determine whether Evolution’s combination with NetEnt would “result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

As part of the review, the CMA invited interested parties to submit their comments on the proposed acquisition by October 5. The regulator said that it would issue its decision on the transaction by Monday, November 16. It delivered its decision on that exact day.

The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority, another regulator that had to give its blessing, approved the deal in late September.

The UK is a core market for both Evolution, which specializes in the provision of Live Casino products, and NetEnt, which has a multi-product portfolio that includes online slots and table games and live casino products, among others.

Extended Acceptance Period

Evolution tabled its SEK19.6 billion offer to purchase NetEnt in June. The company said back then that it expected the bid to be accepted by NetEnt by October 26 and that the deal would be finalized by November 2.

Evolution extended the acceptance period for the offer “up to and including” November 20, following the launch of the CMA inquiry. In other words, NetEnt is set to announce its decision on whether it would join the Evolution group before the end of the week.

The Live Casino expert said earlier that it expects its tie-up with NetEnt to “create a company well positioned to take significant market shares” thanks to Evolution’s own position in the live casino vertical and NetEnt’s position in the online slots sector.

In addition, both companies are well-positioned to pursue further expansion opportunities in the fast-growing regulated US iGaming market.

NetEnt recently announced a partnership with Scientific Games and integrated a slew of its most popular games onto its partner’s OpenGaming platform. The games are now available to Scientific Games platform partners in New Jersey with further launches in Michigan and Pennsylvania planned to follow.

As for Evolution, it expanded its presence in Pennsylvania last week through a partnership with Caesars Entertainment Inc. The partnership saw Evolution add its products to Caesars Casino & Sportsbook in the Keystone State. It was last week again when Evolution launched its content with BetMGM in New Jersey.

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