Flutter Entertainment to buy UK bingo operator Tombola for €479m

Deal is expected to close early next year

Paddy Power-owner Flutter Entertainment is to buy online bingo operator Tombola for more than £400 million (€478m). The terms will see Flutter pay £402 million in cash upon completion, with approval needed in the UK from the Competition and Markets Authority. The deal is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2022.

The acquisition will see Flutter diversify its portfolio, adding a sustainable player base and enhancing its online gaming presence in its core UK market.

The company brings a fully regulated revenue base, with more than 80 per cent coming from the UK and 16 per cent from Italy and Spain. It has around 400,000 average monthly players and more than 700 employees, with teams based in the UK and Gibraltar,

In the year ended April 2021, Tombolo generated pro forma revenue of £164 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £38.5 million.

"Tombola is a business we have long admired for its product expertise, highly recreational customer base and focus on sustainable play. The brand aligns closely with Flutter's safer gambling strategy, a key area of focus for us," said Peter Jackson, Flutter chief executive.

“I am excited to combine Flutter’s digital marketing expertise with Tombola’s operational capabilities within the UK and Ireland division. As the time comes for Phil to hand over the reins, I would like to thank him for building the success story that the business is today, and I look forward to welcoming the Tombola team to Flutter and growing a sustainable business for the future together.”

Tombola’s founder Phil Cronin, who set up the firm 16 years ago, will leave the business after the acquisition, with he and his family expected to net a fortune.

Tombola was the first major UK-focused operator to introduce both mandatory staking and deposit limits.

– Additional reporting by Reuters.