After inking a $5.5 billion deal late last year to purchase British rival Ladbrokes Coral Group, online gambling and sportsbetting giant GVC Holdings has now announced that it will be spending a more modest $51.1 million to acquire a controlling stake in emerging iGaming operator Crystalbet.

Isle of Man-headquartered GVC declared that Crystalbet is licensed to provide online casino aficionados in the small Eastern European nation of Georgia with sportsbetting, poker and peer-to-peer games before stating that its deal for the 51% stake includes a commitment to purchase the outstanding 49% interest in 2021 for as much as $186 million.

“We are delighted to welcome Crystalbet to the GVC group, having been impressed with what the management team has achieved thus far,” read a Monday statement from Kenneth Alexander, Chief Executive Officer for GVC Holdings.

GVC Holdings described Crystalbet as having achieved ‘significant growth’ since its establishment in 2011 with annual revenues last year of approximately $42.1 million alongside earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of about $14.8 million. It explained that the online operator moreover recorded a profit after tax for 2017 of just over $12.6 million and held gross assets of around $10.1 million with the preponderance of these in cash.

“Through access to [our] content, technology and digital marketing skills, we believe Crystalbet can become a clear leader in the regulated Georgian market,” read the statement from Alexander. “This acquisition is in line with our stated strategy of being a truly global player with a focus on regulated/regulating markets.”

GVC Holdings proclaimed that Crystalbet’s ‘management team’ had implemented a ‘highly successful marketing strategy’ that had seen the operator grow to become the preeminent online sportsbetting operator in Georgia. It moreover detailed that this group is set to stay in place following its purchase of the initial stake and be led by the firm’s existing Chief Executive Officer, Koba Giglemiani, and Chairman, Levan Akhvlediani.

“When we were looking for a strategic acquirer to take Crystalbet to the next level, GVC Holdings was very much our first choice,” read a statement from Giglemiani. “GVC Holdings’s experience and track record in many different geographic markets, together with its technology and marketing skills, are key attractions for Crystalbet. We very much look forward to being part of GVC Holdings.”

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