888 ties up All American Poker Network acquisition for $28m

Online casino operator purchases remaining 53% stake in AAPN to facilitate growth in US market

Online casino operator 888 has acquired the remaining 53% stake in the All American Poker Network (AAPN) for $28m, it was announced today.

The joint venture (JV) between 888 and Avenue OLG Entertainment was first established in 2013 but today’s acquisition sees 888 buy out Avenue to gain full control of the JV.

Since 2013, the JV has seen 888 launch its B2C brands in the regulated US online gaming market, with both 888poker and 888casino currently live in New Jersey.

The 100% buyout will allow 888 to build on its US strategy which includes signing new partnerships and deploying proprietary products and technology in new states as they regulate.

888 CEO Itai Frieberger said: “The acquisition of the remaining stake in AAPN is an important strategic step towards 888 achieving its exciting long-term potential in the US.

“Taking outright ownership of AAPN gives 888 additional operational, technological and commercial flexibility to develop innovative and exciting new partnerships and launch in new states – through both B2B and B2C channels – as and when future regulation allows.

“This acquisition places 888 in an even better position to take advantage of the significant growth opportunities in the US and create additional value for our shareholders.

 “The AAPN joint venture has been a very successful endeavour for the group and it has afforded us the flexibility and financial capability to build a position in the regulated US market over the last five years whilst also investing in other global regulated markets,” he added.

888 was the first egaming operator to establish a partnership with an NFL team in October after inking an agreement with the New York Jets.

Cannacord analyst Simn Davies said it was “essential” for 888 to take over full control of its US operations.

“It will now be in a position to sign partnerships with land-based operators that can provide market access (the William Hill/Eldorado model) or with broadcast partners where it can leverage the value of its partners’ audience/sports relationships (like Sky/Skybet in the UK),” Davies said.

888 | M&A