Ladbrokes owner to buy Sweden’s Enlabs for £250m as it lifts outlook

Ladbrokes owner Entain has agreed to buy a Swedish online gambling firm for £250 million and lifted its earnings forecast after a strong finish to the year.

The update comes days after the gambling giant, which also owns the Coral and Bwin brands, turned down an £8.09 billion takeover bid by US casino owner MGM Resorts.

Entain, which recently changed its name from GVC, said it hopes the acquisition of Sweden’s Enlabs AB, for 40 Swedish krona per share, will help to build its presence in the fast-growing Nordic and Baltic regions.

It said the move will be financed from existing cash resources.

Shay Segev, chief executive of Entain, said: “The acquisition of Enlabs is perfectly aligned with our strategy of expanding across new regulated international markets.

“We are hugely excited by the growth opportunities it presents both in its existing markets and through new market opportunities.

“Enlabs is already a strong and rapidly growing business in its own right, but we now have a fantastic opportunity to turbocharge its growth by leveraging the power of our unparalleled proprietary technology, scale, product and marketing expertise.”

Niklas Braathen, chairman at Enlabs, will stay on to help lead Entain’s growth strategy in the new regions.

“When Entain’s interest to acquire Enlabs emerged, we instantly saw the strategic logic,” he said.

“Our interaction with them so far has confirmed that they will provide an excellent home for the company, its customers and employees.”

In the same update, Entain said it expects to deliver earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of between £825 million and £845 million for 2020.

The company had previously projected earnings between £770 million and £790 million.

It said the improvement was driven by a “strong performance” in the final quarter despite the impact of lockdown restrictions on its retail business.

Shares in Entain moved 1% higher to 1,475p in early trading on Thursday.

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