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Building B2C market share through M&A activity

Building B2C market share through M&A activity

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Adam Warren is Managing Director of Greentube Malta. Following swiftly on from Greentube’s successful acquisition of Admiral Sport in Italy, Adam outlines his thoughts on the secrets of successful M&A activity, and how and why such moves can be beneficial in increasing market share for the company’s B2C segment.

The major positives of acquisition

“In the case of Admiral Sport, the brand has a similar market share in Italy to Starvegas, our other B2C brand that has been live since 2012, so in this case we were able to effectively double our market share. Our challenge going forwards is to ensure that both brands continue to thrive and grow within this exciting market.

“A second major positive is that in the context of the ban on gambling advertising in Italy, the land-based component of the Admiral business is very important, as it provides us with a consumer-facing billboard, a captive platform for promoting the brands and engaging with omni-channel and cross-marketing activities. Exposure to the target audiences is vital, even regulations prevent advertising, and this ties in with the company’s wider goal of creating a multi-national brand with Admiral.”

Successful integration is essential

“It is our intention to continue to operate the two brands, Admiral and Starvegas, as separate entities, as both are strong and distinctive in their own right. Having two ships in Italian waters spreads the appeal and increases market share. The opportunity to present players with greater choice is also an asset, as opposed to simply offering a different skin on top of the same engine.

“And, as mentioned previously, Admiral’s strong land-based presence can only enrich our omni-channel approach and deliver cross-marketing opportunities between the two brands.

“Finally, the two brands offer players a slightly different balance, and so have a slightly different appeal. Admiral is more sports-focused, but also offers slots, and Starvegas has a more primary slots focus, whilst also offering sports. Ultimately, both portfolios will be quite similar, but the relative approaches and identities will continue to be different, with both brands having sub-products to offer their players.”

Avoiding unwanted brand dilution

“What makes Admiral such a special, standout operation, is its land-based foundation and status. Rather than diluting this strength, our aim is to expand further on the qualities that secured this success. Admiral possesses many great attributes that we want to onboard, whilst our own strengths are online and within SEO. The positive synergies from this alliance are clear to see.

“In addition, Greentube has been openly exploring the acquisition of Admiral since 2019, and within this ‘courting’ process, the Admiral brand has naturally strengthened even further. This has been reflected in their performance and results over the past three years.”

Managing individual brand identities

“In this case, it is difficult to accurately predict what might happen too far down the line, as circumstances can change unexpectedly, but for foreseeable future, both brands will retain identities that are currently strong and successful. At present, there are complexities around the renewal of games licences in Italy, and uncertainties surrounding the timing and costs of regulatory changes. There will always be opportunities to consolidate if necessary but right now, our goal is to maximise our current opportunities.”

Ensuring the acquisition process is successful

“Both Admiral and Starvegas do great things, but there are different understandings and knowledge involved, so effective communication is definitely a key factor. It is not a case of simply undertaking a given process because that is the way it has always been done. The reasoning behind each process must be explained with clarity, internally and externally. Both brands have been in the market for a number of years, so certain things may have been done on a legacy basis. When we wish to introduce change, new ideas and approaches, we need to have honest conversations with all stakeholders. The vital ingredients here are communication, understanding and receptiveness to new ways of thinking.

“And the other key ingredient is that by consolidating systems, it enables you to become more streamlined and agile in the market. With a single core system, we can move quickly and be market specific. Right now, there is still a lot of road mapping, but when we reach a certain point, we will become very specific and targeted within Italy – and this is a commitment that is both challenging and exciting!”