FDJ CEO exclusive: ‘Planets aligned’ for merger after Kindred US exit

The French operator might have moved to close Kindred’s US business had it not already reached decision independently, according to the CEO.

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Image credit: Ferrante Ferranti

La Française des Jeux (FDJ) Chairwoman and CEO Stéphane Pallez says there was “an alignment of the planets” following the French operator’s €2.6bn ($2.8bn) offer to purchase Kindred Group.

Several timely factors supported FDJ’s decision to buy its fellow operator – a process Pallez says will take up most of FDJ’s 2024 – but perhaps none more so than Kindred’s decision to leave the US following a strategic review.

The difficulties of competing in the US, more precisely the levels of investment required to build up a database in return for a yet-to-be-seen profit, have been laid bare with the exit of a number of competing firms. Those include Kindred, 888 and even a scaling back of online activity from large American corporations like Wynn Resorts.

Kindred’s US exit therefore played perfectly into FDJ’s strategic plans to focus on Europe.

Indeed, when asked by Gambling Insider if the decision offered greater encouragement to FDJ’s eventual offer, Pallez said the operator may have even ended up closing Kindred’s US business itself further down the line…

"A rational conclusion"

“In regards to your point about the US market, yes, it's true it was among the elements that made the planets align,” she explained.

“I think the fact that Kindred announced its withdrawal from the US market did contribute to the alignment and to our capacity to make the deal. I think it was quite a rational conclusion. At this point, there was no real visible perspective of the benefits of their investment in the US.

“If we were to buy Kindred without the decision, we would have closed the US markets ourselves probably. So the fact they announced it and are in the process of implementing this decision is a positive element into the picture.”

You can read our full four-page interview with FDJ CEO Pallez in Gambling Insider’s upcoming Sports Betting Focus magazine

Kindred CEO Nils Andén, meanwhile, also spoke to Gambling Insider – addressing the US market and FDJ offer specifically – at Kindred’s Sustainable Gambling Conference earlier this week.

You can watch that video interview soon on the Huddle.


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