Stars Group eyeing $2.5bn war chest for M&A

By Robert Simmons
Global gaming technology provider The Stars Group has revealed that it could raise almost $2.5bn to fund new business acquisitions in the future should the company wish to do so.

In an interview reported by Reuters, Stars Group CEO Rafael Ashkenazi said that the company is looking at acquiring either one big company or alternatively three to five small-to-medium companies.

Ashkenazi declined to mention the companies involved but did later state that talks were already underway.

The news follows the company revealing that its group revenues increased by 21% year-on-year during the third quarter of 2017, rising to $329m. Real-money online poker revenues for the quarter grew by 12.5% year-over-year, while real-money online casino and sportsbook combined revenues increased by approximately 48.3% year-over-year.

Total long-term debt outstanding at the end of the quarter was $2.45bn, with the company choosing to repay a $75m second term loan using cash on its balance sheet. Stars Group has built up over $255m in cash, reducing its debts by $515m during the last year which has allowed the company to adopt a more acquisitive outlook.

Ashkenazi also confirmed that The Stars Group would look to secure a gaming licence in Pennsylvania following the decision by legislators to allow online gambling in the US state. No details were confirmed but he did state that the company would look to partner with one of the state’s 12 casinos over the next few months.

With sports betting to be debated in the Supreme Court next month, a number of international gambling companies are preparing to expand further into the US market should justices decide to rule in favour of New Jersey’s appeal. With its international online poker brand and a significant footprint in Canada, Stars Group could be among the first to move forward into the US.


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