888 Holdings to divest US B2C assets to Hard Rock Digital

888 cited low margins and intense competition as the reasons for its US exit.
888 cited low margins and intense competition as the reasons for its US exit.

The UK-listed gambling operator has confirmed its exit from the US market after ending its Sports Illustrated deal.

US.- The London-listed gambling operator 888 Holdings has announced that it will divest its US assets to Hard Rock Digital. It had announced last month that it would terminate its Sports Illustrated (SI) Sportsbook and Casino joint venture with Authentic Brands Group and sell or exit its US B2C operations due to intense competition and low margins.

888 entered into an exclusive deal with Authentic Brands in 2021 to offer sports betting under the Sports Illustrated brand. It will pay Authentic Brands a termination fee of $25m now and another $25m over the period from 2027 to 2029. The SI Sportsbook was available in Colorado, Michigan and New Jersey.

Meanwhile, 888 has announced plans to change its name to Evoke Plc as it launches a value creation plan. Exiting the US market, it will focus on its core markets of the UK, Denmark, Italy and Spain while evaluating opportunities in other under-represented markets.

The value creation plan is intended to generate revenue growth of up to nine per cent per year. Key pillars include driving profitable and sustainable revenue growth, an adjusted EBITDA margin expansion of 100 basis points per year and a “highly disciplined” use of capital.

The group aims to improve profitability and efficiency through operating leverage and, by investigating in insights, artificial intelligence and intelligent automation to deliver productivity at a lower cost. It also plans to redefine its market archetypes into Core Markets, including the UK, Italy, Spain and Denmark, and Optimise Markets, where it would “prioritise cash flow generation and value maximisation through leveraging our enhanced capabilities and scale”.

According to its financial results for 2023, 888’s revenue was up 38 per cent year-on-year at £1.7m, while adjusted EBITDA was up by 41 per cent at £308.3m.

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