NEW YORK- Super Group, the parent company of online bookmaker Betway, said on Sunday it has agreed to go public through a merger with blank-check acquisition firm Sports Entertainment Acquisition Corp at a valuation of around $5 billion.
The deal comes as Betway, which has its roots in Europe, expands in the United States.
"The company (Super Group) is projecting EBITDA in excess of $350 million in 2021, with continuous growth that is very healthy thereafter," Sports Entertainment Chairman Eric Grubman said in an interview. "Those numbers are without the U.S., which is not likely to produce high profits in the next couple of years. The U.S. currently is more about the investment than profit, and is one of many opportunities the company has."
Reuters had reported on Saturday that Super Group and Sports Entertainment were nearing an a deal to merge.
The merger values Super Group at $4.75 billion, not accounting for funds it will receive from Sports Entertainment in the deal. Sports Entertainment currently has around $450 million in trust. Its shareholders can either roll over their shares into the combined company or redeem the stock and get their money back.
Upon closing of the deal, which is dependant on a vote by Sports Entertainment shareholders, the combined company's stock would trade under the symbol "SGHC" on the New York Stock Exchange.
Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) such as Sports Entertainment are shell companies that raise funds in an initial public offering with the aim of merging with a private company, which becomes public as result, providing an alternative to traditional IPOs.
SPAC dealmaking tailed off in recent weeks following a record start to 2021 as U.S. regulators changed the accounting requirements for them and investors have been less willing to bankroll mergers.
Betway's platform enables betting on popular sporting events around the world, including Britain's Premier League football tournament and the cricket tournament Indian Premier League.
"We have our own software and software from third parties, on which we overlay our data analytics engine. Data has been at the core of our DNA," Super Group Chief Executive Neal Menashe said. "It's all about return on investment, return on marketing spend, and engaging customers in an entertainment environment in a safe, secure and responsible way."
Super Group has partnerships with National Basketball Association teams such as the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers, and English football teams such as West Ham United.
Sports Entertainment Acquisition completed its IPO in New York in October. It is backed by Timothy Goodell, general counsel of U.S. oil producer Hess Corp and brother of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and an affiliate of investment bank PJT Partners Inc.
(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Will Dunham) ((email@example.com; +1 646-223-6356; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))