Affiliate consolidation continues apace

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This year is already shaping up to be another year of marked affiliate sector consolidation within the gaming industry after both Catena Media and Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) announced further add-on buyouts within the past week and the latter announced a bond financing that sets itself up for further deals.

The Oslo-listed GIG announced a €3.5m deal for an unnamed Sweden-focused affiliate marketing company on the day after its yearly results which showed revenues at its Innovation Labs digital marketing operation booming.

On the same day, affiliate marketing specialist Catena Media – also listed, this time on the Nasdaq exchange in Stockholm – also announced it had snapped up the Slotsia, an online casino news and information site that was founded in 2015. The deal valued Slotsia at an initial €3.6m with a further €5m payable depending on future performance.

GamCrowd has previously followed the trend toward consolidation in the affiliate space, writing about Catena Media’s previous deals in 2016 including the buyout of Swedish sportsbook affiliate Spellbloggare.se and an unnamed German affiliate business earlier in the year. We have also written about Paysafe’s $40m deal to buy Income Access which was announced in September,

GIG, meanwhile, followed up its own acquisition announcement with the news that it had raised an SEK400m bond (£36m) in order to fund a warchest for further affiliate business acquisitions.

Robin Reed, chief executive of GIG, said: “Our vision is to interconnect the operators and suppliers of the iGaming industry in an eco-system. The proceeds from this bond placement will allow us to acquire and invest into marketing businesses and distribution channels.”

“This will greatly increase our traffic driving capability to our rapidly expanding eco-system. More volumes will benefit all the stakeholders with advantages of scale.”

GIG also has ambitions in both consumer-facing operations and on the supply side where at the very start of the year it announced it had signed its first customer to its newly constituted sportsbook backend offering called BettingCloud.

Both GIG and Catena Media share a common shareholder in the investment fund Optimizer Invest.

GIG’s results for the fourth quarter were also released in mid-February and showed its multi-pronged strategy was paying off. Revenues for the three months rose 48 percent to €21.5m while EBITDA was up to €3.9m from €1,1m the previous quarter. The company said that revenues for the affiliate business had reached an all-time high.

In terms of B2C the company runs the Rizk.com and Guts.com sites and bought complete control of the Betit brands from previous part-owner GVC last year.

At Catena Media, revenues in the fourth quarter more than doubled to €12.3m and adjusted profit before tax stood at nearly €5m. The company said of its two most recent acquisitions in the UK – a sports and betting app and website called SBAT and gaming site CasinoUK – that the pair would respectively strengthen the company’s focus on sports and social media know-how and expand its offering in paid media and search.