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Internet casino and online sports wagering operator Codere Online said today it’s merging with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) DD3 Acquisition Corp. II (NASDAQ:DDMX). That paves the way for the target to become Latin America’s first publicly traded online gaming firm.
The transaction values Codere at an estimated pro forma enterprise value of approximately $350 million, or 2.3x the operator’s forecast 2022 sales of $150 million. That implies a market capitalization of $500 million. Assuming no redemptions by DD3 investors, Codere expects to emerge from the deal with $145 million in cash with which to bolster technology and fund marketing and expansion into fast-growing markets in Latin America.
Baron Funds, MG Capital, LarrainVial and DD3 Capital Partners have committed to a private investment of more than $67 million that will close concurrently with the business combination, and Baron Funds has committed to roll-over approximately $10 million of DD3 public shares,” according to a statement.
The transaction is slated to close in the fourth quarter. Codere Online, founded in 2014, is a unit of Codere Group — the only listed Spanish company in the gaming industry. The parent company will maintain majority ownership of the online entity following the closure of the blank-check deal.
Codere Online Capitalizing on Latin America Opportunities
In the investment community, the sports betting focus is on the US. That’s because it’s the world’s fastest-growing market and has no consolidation in mature markets, such as seen in Australia and Europe.
For investors in the US, iGaming and sports wagering in Latin America is an afterthought. But Codere could change that perspective. The operator describes Italy, Spain, Mexico, Colombia, and Panama as its “core countries,” and said it’s on pace to launch in Buenos Aires later this year.
There is an opportunity for betting operators in Latin America. The region offers favorable demographic trends and wide support for sports, including auto racing, basketball, baseball, and, of course, soccer. Additionally, market penetration is currently low. But consumers there are increasingly tech-savvy.
“…Very low existing market penetration with increasing adoption of smartphones, e-commerce and internet connectivity position the region for tremendous near, medium and long-term growth (estimated at approximately 10x from 2020 to 2027, based on management projections and industry research),” said Codere Online.
The operator appears to be striking in advance of the Latin American sports betting landscape becoming increasingly hospitable. Argentina is legalizing sports wagering on a provincial basis, which could lead to further liberalization. Although the activity is considered a “gray market” in Mexico, it’s a $300 million market there. In advance of the 2022 World Cup, Brazil — home to, by far, the region’s biggest economy and population — will launch regulated sports betting.
Other operators see growth in the region as well. Last year, William Hill acquired a majority stake in Colombian gaming firm Alfabet, while FanDuel struck a deal with sportsbook provider CAGE Sports, which is known throughout the Caribbean.
Gaming and SPACs Still Desired Combination
The broader blank-check market cooled considerably in recent months. But the Codere/DD3 Acquisition marriage is another sign there’s still demand among gaming companies and SPACs to partner.
This is the second SPAC transaction for DD3. The firm’s first blank-check firm merged with Mexican home organization company Betterware de Mexico (NASDAQ:BWMX) in March, helping that enterprise go public in the US.
The Codere/DD3 is reminiscent of the move announced by Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) last month in which the parent company is monetizing its online business, Wynn Interactive, with a blank-check outfit, while maintaining a stake in that unit.
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