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Online gambling grows as Gamesys is sold to JPJ Group

Robert Willis
Not only does this deal create a significant UK and international online gaming operator in the shape of the new Gamesys Group, it is also a particularly pleasing result for the selling shareholders whom we had previously advised on the sale of a number of their significant online gaming brands to JPJ for GBP 425m plus an earn out.
Robert Willis

As part of a recent trend of consolidation in the online betting and gaming sector, Gamesys, the operator of Virgin Games, Virgin Casino, Monopoly Casino and Heart Bingo, was sold to JPJ Group plc, the UK Main Market-listed online gambling group in September 2019. The cash and share deal was worth approximately GBP 490m.

CMS advised Gamesys and its majority shareholders on the deal, which was structured as a reverse takeover for JPJ. On completion, JPJ changed its name to Gamesys Group plc.

CMS’s advice to Gamesys also involved a complex pre-sale Online gambling grows as Gamesys is sold to JPJ Group reorganisation and demerger to carve out Gamesys’ sports betting and games content businesses from the transaction. This created a new group of businesses for the selling shareholders and required them to enter into a number of high value commercial arrangements with JPJ to provide platform services and key games content on a long-term basis.

CMS London partner Robert Willis led a large multi-practice team in the UK, along with CMS teams in Austria and the Czech Republic, together with law firms in Estonia, Gibraltar, Jersey, Malta, New Jersey and Spain.

Robert Willis commented, “We are really pleased to have supported our long-standing client to deliver this transformational deal. Not only does this deal create a significant UK and international online gaming operator in the shape of the new Gamesys Group, it is also a particularly pleasing result for the selling shareholders whom we had previously advised on the sale of a number of their significant online gaming brands to JPJ for GBP 425m plus an earn out.

The formation of the Gamesys Group is the culmination of a series of acquisitions by JPJ, which was previously branded Jackpotjoy plc until June 2018. The legacy business, Intertain, had acquired Jackpotjoy from Gamesys in 2015.

The JPJ/ Gamesys deal follows a series of M&A transactions in the online gambling sector including The Rank Group’s GBP 115m takeover of Stride Gaming plc, on which CMS advised Rank, and NetEnt’s GBP 223m acquisition of Red Tiger Gaming, on which CMS advised NetEnt.