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[WATCH] How to prepare for M&A, your most likely exit avenue at SiGMA Europe ’21

Posted:: Feb 18, 2022 14:13 Category: Europe , Events , M&A Action , Posted by Maria

In a keynote speech, CEO and Co-Founder of Dilanti Media ltd Johan Styren discusses the importance of the M&A industry and different angles on how one can exist a business with a listing or selling of a business

Johan Styren CEO and Co-Founder of Dilanti Media ltd opens up his speech with a background on his career. Previous board member of Hero Gaming and former Leo Vegas’ CEO says that his journey got him to understand more the M&A industry and different angles on how one can exist a business with a listing or selling of a business. 

Leo Vegas was founded back in 2012, having just 5 employees, the company was first evaluated at € 3 million Euros. Starting from scratch, Leo Vegas has come a long way.

Leo Vegas looked at building the world’s first mobile casino ahead of every other company and in 2017 that business idea pumped the listing up to $1 billion. 

If you look at the valuation compared to turnover, it’s about four to five times the annual turnover of the company, comparing that to today’s gaming operators, even LeoVegas today, that would be about one time, the yearly turnover. 

“This is just an example of just how much, a proper story that you sell to investors can make with the price of a business.” 

m&a process | SiGMA News
Valentin Alsen and Johan Styren from Dilanti Media.

At the same time that Leo Vegas started out, there were quite a few, really successful casino businesses who had started out as well. LeoVegas stood out because of its clearcut overstory. “I was lucky enough to cash out a portion of Leo Vegas’ $ 1 billion Dollar evaluation and found some new investments. Some of the most active ones are Hero Gaming.”

Being a board member of Hero Gaming, Styren has a lot of praise for the brand. The company’s been growing for years and their selling point is giving out the best casino adventure. The speaker believes that the consensus within the company was to revisit this story to reach that next level. 

Apart from people in the gambling industry, there were also members who joined the board from the financial sector. 

The board looked around the industry to enforce a new concept. They didn’t look at reinventing something completely new, but to put forward a concept that was already working for companies around the gambling industry. In 2017, the concept making waves in this industry was pay and play. 

Around that time there were already two or three companies making use of this. Styren had high hopes as he goes on to further explain “If you can’t be the first and then be the best, and we really managed to do that, we managed to create market leadership for pay in play, especially in the Swedish market.”

The company had now been around for quite a few years and with a lot of shareholders giving their input in it, it was time to give something back at some point. With the stock market going downhill, the sale was the only option. The casino still didn’t have a clear-cut story as the casino was still present with markets over in Asia, Europe, and more. So Hero Gaming looked into taking the biggest part of the business and separated the brand. 

A lot of big Cayman companies would look at making it an addition to the current brand but Heo looked at it differently by adding the pay and play aspect increasing the speed and efficiency of the casino. “It turned out to be the biggest pay and play.”

Hero gaming packaged this, gave it a sole licence, and sold that package to big companies who were lacking this aspect. At this point, Hero Gaming understood the importance of selling a clean-cut story. Instead of selling a general gaming company having a little bit of everything, this time it was not a specialised branch that bigger companies saw potential in as they could make use of to up their game. 

“Your story can be redefined as long as you’re very clear about it.” 

Another aspect that intrigued Johan Styren was the affiliate business. He jokingly states that what actually intrigues him is the “70% profit margins.”

Back in 2017, we saw a rise in the affiliate business environment. Several small start-ups were building affiliate websites only to stop when they reach a certain level. Back then Catena was the most prolific along with Better Collective and what these companies were doing was that they were thriving on smaller companies. It made sense to them as a growth strategy to be buying these novel, smaller companies.

If you’re good at SEO, building a presence in the market wouldn’t be hard and it would give you the opportunity to sell it further down the line.

The problem which was being overseen was that once these companies were being bought they would slow down. “We were looking for was something that goes beyond that, to solve the problem in the market, because as much as this made sense to the bigger companies to buy these, they still lost a tremendous amount on the value.

The period that, you could keep the owners on for ended and I wouldn’t say game over, but it was very clear when they left, as so much of the information needed to grow. These sites are, simply in the head of the founders.”

The whole business idea of Dilante Media is this and what they have done. They’ve built a platform that can deal with all of this complexity when it comes to what’s needed on an SEO level. “You can hire really good SEO managers but with this tool, they can actually operate on the levels that the founders of the companies mentioned can.”

The most important point where you really create value is that Dilanti Media has now put itself in a position where the company can buy smaller companies aiding them in keeping the percentage value of their worth high. With the implementation of those new sites on the platform, it’s a one-stop-shop

Considering just how competitive the SEO world has gotten Dilanti media, strongly believes that it’s not enough to have the biggest wallet unless you only going to use that wallet to buy something like Dilanti media making this the best next potential exit. “Make sure you have a clear story and deliver on that.”

SiGMA 2022 :

After the exciting set of conferences that was Malta Week 2021, the SiGMA Group plans to take the world by storm with the golden steeples of Kiev and the snowy city of Toronto being hubs to draw the best and brightest of the iGaming world together. Our next expo takes us to cutting-edge metropoli of the United Arab Emirates for three days of networking, panel discussions and festivities. Stay up to date with the latest and greatest through SiGMA News.

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