Gaming1, the entertainment branch of Ardent Group, has signed a transformational deal for their next phase of growth. The active shareholders in the Liège-based company, the leader in the Belgian gaming market, have partnered with CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII. CVC will bring their expertise to support the group’s growth in becoming a global reference in the regulated online gaming markets thanks to the continued development of their own technology and through their unique omnichannel approach.
A strong company growing quickly
The history of the group’s entertainment activities started in 1992 in Liège, parallel to the development of their land-based network, the company progressively developed a digital offering through their own technology platform. Today, as well as being a Belgian leader, Gaming1 is present in 9 countries around the world, including Portugal, France and the United States with their joint venture Gamewise founded with the American giant Delaware North.
Only active in regulated markets, Gaming1 is exclusively positioned in legal, responsible and ethical gaming. Gaming1 strives to offer the best player experience, in a responsible way focused on regulated markets. The group has around 1,300 employees, including more than 400 in their digital hub in Liège.
To accelerate their growth and become a worldwide reference on the regulated online gaming market, the company wants to partner with a new shareholder capable of bringing global, sector and digital expertise. Emmanuel Mewissen, Sylvain Boniver and Nicolas Léonard, historical shareholders of Gaming1, will continue to be the reference shareholders in Gaming1 and look forward to post-completion partnering with CVC, once the regulatory approvals are in place. Throughout the process, Gaming1 was assisted by the financial advice of BNP Paribas Corporate Finance.
An experienced, first-class investor, fully aligned with Gaming1’s growth strategy
CVC is a leading global investment firm with US$125 billion of assets under management. CVC has experience in the sector through CVC funds’ investments in Tipico, the German sports betting company, the Italian operator Sisal, and the English business Sky Bet. They also have significant knowledge of the digital space through CVC funds’ investments such as ironSource, a leader in mobile advertising and mobile gaming technology markets, and Aleph, a leading global enabler of digital advertising.
CVC has an international network of 25 offices, including 13 in Europe, and an established team in the Belgian market. This choice also allows Gaming1 to stay loyal to their roots and continue to contribute to the development of the country’s economic fabric, a core element of Gaming1’s mission.
Emmanuel Mewissen, CEO and Founder of Ardent Group, explained this choice: “In a rapidly changing world, the key to success is adapting. By partnering with CVC, we will benefit from their global, sector and technology expertise, which will support our company to continue on our successful growth path and further build our digital capabilities. We will stay loyal to our values and Belgian roots, as shown by our recent move to our digital hub in the heart of Liège. This desire to anchor ourselves in and to contribute to our country’s growth is an integral part of our identity and will continue to guide us daily.”