Paddy Power and Fanduel owner Flutter Entertainment said it had bought an initial 51% stake in Serbia’s second biggest sports betting and gaming operator MaxBet for €141m in a bid to expand in the Balkans.
Flutter said the deal allows it to acquire the remaining 49% stake in 2029 on similar terms.
It added that the deal aligns with its strategy to target fast-growing, regulated markets where it can combine local expertise with its global pricing and technology.
Flutter, the world’s largest online betting company, said the €700m Serbian betting market is attractive due to its relatively low online penetration of around 35% and expected online compound annual growth to 2025 of about 15%.
MaxBet, which generated pro forma fully regulated revenue of €145m in the year to June, 44% of it online, also has a smaller presence in Bosnia, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
It has an estimated 20% online share as well as over 400 retail outlets across four markets, a well-known local brand and 95,000 online average monthly players.
Flutter, which makes 78% of its revenue in its main divisions of the US, Australia and Ireland and the UK, operates in more than 100 countries around the world.
Peter Jackson, Flutter’s chief executive, said today’s acquisition continues the company’s progress against the strategic priorities it has set for its International division; to buy and build podium positions in regulated markets.
“We believe MaxBet is an excellent opportunity to replicate the success we have achieved in markets like Georgia, India and Italy by acquiring a strong brand in a podium position, where we see a compelling opportunity to combine that extensive local expertise with the power of the Flutter Edge to accelerate and transform growth,” the CEO added.
The deal is subject to customary regulatory clearances and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.