FDJ says potential Dutch ad and slots ban does not change view on Kindred Group acquisition

CFO Pascal Chaffard suggests online slots will remain live and that a blanket ban on marketing would benefit market-leader Unibet
The post FDJ says potential Dutch ad and slots ban does not change view on Kindred Group acquisition first appeared on EGR Intel.  

Bosses of French operator La Française des Jeux (FDJ) have adamantly stated that motions for a market blanket ban on advertising and online slots in the Netherlands will not impact its acquisition of Kindred Group.

Speaking on an analyst call following the publication of the firm’s Q1 results, CFO Pascal Chaffard claimed a ban on online slots would not come to fruition, while advertising restrictions would actually be of benefit to Kindred.

During the call, the finance chief repeatedly dismissed suggestions the potential regulatory changes could see FDJ pull out of the £2.1bn move for the Unibet parent company.

In the Netherlands’ parliamentary House of Representatives on Tuesday, 16 April, two motions from the Socialist Party received majority backing from fellow MPs, with the process now seeing the Minister for Legal Protection, Franc Weerwind, give his view on the subject.

Chaffard said: “Clearly, it is not changing our views on the Kindred acquisition. We have to be prepared to have some [headwinds] in certain jurisdictions. This is a non-event because it is just a motion, and this motion is clearly not consistent with what has been put in place by the Netherlands government.

“Regarding [the] further advertisement ban for online gaming, we do not consider it materially impactful. As you know in such cases, it clearly benefits the market leader, and Kindred is a clear market leader in the Netherlands.

“Regarding banning high-risk money games, this will be dramatically backward and would open the door again for illegal, unregulated operators. It really would be surprising to see such a backward move in the wake of the market opening,” he added.

Chaffard did confirm there were material adverse change clauses available to FDJ as part of the proposed acquisition but added that now was “not the point to envisage this kind of atomic bomb”.

The exec went on to note that baking in regulatory changes had been a key part of the move for Kindred as he cited the upcoming changes in the UK stemming from the white paper into the Gambling Act 2005 review.

Chaffard added: “We don’t expect that slots in the Netherlands will shut down, so we don’t take this into consideration. What we factored into the business plan is that we know a number of jurisdictions are more and more demanding.

“For example, we know in the UK we have to comply with the white paper. We thought that it would be good for Kindred’s strategy that they have made their revolution; not basing their core business on high-roller gamblers.”

Chaffard also confirmed it had made progress with the anti-trust authorities in France and Poland over concerns regarding the Kindred acquisition.

In terms of Q1 financial performance, FDJ revenue jumped from €662m to €710m, with CEO Stéphane Pallez noting the group had made a “good start to the year”.

Lottery revenue rose 1.4% from €497m to €504m while sports betting and online gaming moved up 9% from €129m to €141m.

The post FDJ says potential Dutch ad and slots ban does not change view on Kindred Group acquisition first appeared on EGR Intel.


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