The Stars Group rids itself of entire stake in Jackpotjoy


stars-group-sells-jackpotjoy-stakeThe parent company of online poker giant PokerStars continues to sell off its non-core holdings as it prepares for some hot merger & acquisition action.

On Wednesday, Stars Interactive Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of the Toronto-listed The Stars Group, announced it would “explore the opportunity” to sell up to half of the nearly 5.6m shares it held in UK-listed online bingo operator Jackpotjoy PLC.

On Thursday, Jackpotjoy announced that Stars had actually sold off its entire stake in the bingo company, reportedly due to “strong investor demand.” Stars raised approximately £45m as a result of this sale, which formally ends its interest in Jackpotjoy, whose shares closed out Thursday’s trading up 1% to 864p.

The Stars Group’s interest in Jackpotjoy dates back over four years to the two companies’ previous corporate identities. Stars, then known as Amaya Gaming, sold its B2C WagerLogic business to Goldstar Acquisition Co, which later morphed into the Intertain Group, which eventually became Jackpotjoy after the 2015 acquisition of the UK-based bingo company of the same name.

Speaking of, Jackpotjoy announced this week that it had kicked its significant long-term debt can down the road another mile or so by securing a new £385m loan. Jackpotjoy says the new loan will cut about £9m per year off the crippling interest charges it pays as a result of purchasing those UK bingo assets.

Getting back to The Stars Group, this is the second major selloff the company has concluded in as many weeks. Last week, Stars sold its entire holdings in Toronto-listed gaming technology provider NYX Gaming Group to Scientific Games Corporation for around C$35.5m.

Earlier this month, Stars CEO Rafi Ashkenazi revealed that the company was looking to raise up to $2.5b to fund M&A activity that could involve either one major company or between three and five ‘small to medium’ companies.