We visited Catena Market Capital Day. We want to give our comments and opinion about from this interesting day. Catena Media is lead generation company in high-value niches. It was a pleasure to listen to most of the speakers. The event started with a chill lunch with the possibility to talk to the CEO Per Hellberg, General Manager USA Michael Daly, COO Johannes Berg, CFO Pia-Lena Olofsson in a more relaxed form. The most interesting part was to listen to the GM USA Michael Daly. We got to talk to Michael and other people in Catena Media so we might have some information that was not in the presentation. The USA is where the biggest potential lies for the next couple of years. We have written a Catena Media Analysis earlier this month that brings up some points for the USA expansion in 2019. In this post, we will quickly describe what we learned from the Catena Market Capital Day and bring up thing that we consider being interesting for investors.
The US Operation
The operation today consists of 19 people. Websites that were acquired from i15 Media in 2016 (PlayNJ.com, PlayUSA.com, PlayPennsylvania.com, PlayNY.com, LegalSportsReport.com, OnlinePokerReport.com etc) have Catena Media already taken over and are handling the day-to-day business. The founders of i15 Media are acting like advisor and strategist for these sites. The Bonusseekers.com website that was acquired in 2018 is being managed by the original team but will eventually be handed over to Catena Media. We were very happy to hear that the i15 Media websites have already had a successful takeover. This has been a problem in many acquisitions for affiliates in the past. Catena Media is well respected in the business and is said to be one of the few that know how setup win-win earnouts and do a successful takeover. The guys from i15 Media will still be there until October/November 2019. i15 Media, of course, have non-compete deals in the sectors that Catena Media currently operates in but they maybe start something new in the lead generating field that Catena Media later can buy. The relationship between the i15 Media founders and Catena Media seems to be great.
The General Manager of USA has 15 years of experience in the Gaming Business. He has been living in Las Vegas for the past 15 years so he eats and breath gaming. Since a few years back he has been involved in online gaming and since soon 1 year in the affiliate business. He seems to be a good manager in many aspects. Catena Media do not currently have an office but will likely set up one in Las Vegas in 2019 where most of the US employees are. To keep employers Catena Media offers good deals for insurance, vacation and so on. So they are aware of keeping their employees happy. As long as they can keep their key employees it will be easy to roll out to new states with existing brands. Just a few journalists with state-specific sports news and they are set.
The artificial high marketing in the US
The money that Catena Media earn now in the US is just insane. For casino, Catena Media gets paid 4x more for each player than in Europe and for sports betting 2x more than in Europe. When operators spend 10 million dollars for a license the casino operators need to grow and create a customer base. We believe that these artificial high CPAs will stay for a while but will eventually get lower. However, when new states enter the market there will probably be the same artificial high CPAs in these states. Also if Bet365 and Playtech enter the market it could lead to higher competition between operators and drive up the CPA and rev shares even further. It is certainly a good time to make business in the US. Catena Media has around 70% of the affiliate market in New Jersey and affiliation stands for 20-30% of new players, you do the math!
Seeking investors in the US
There have been rumours that people in the top management have recently been to the US to talk with potential investors. It will, of course, change the playing field when big investors want to take a position in this fast growing company. We think many people are impressed with the professionalism that Catena Media shows and gradually understand the profitable future that lies ahead. With US investors gradually understanding the potential, we are guessing that they will value the company much higher than Swedish investors. Also, there is always a buzz around Catena Media. There are new states opening up. Reports about monthly revenue and much more so it will be easy to quickly understand the potential. We do not need to wait for each quarterly report which should keep Catena Media stable.
You could really feel how optimistic Michael Daly and Per Hellberg was. We had small doubts before that it might be tough to reach the goal of 100 MEUR EBITDA in 2020 but there is not much doubt left. With just one acquisition or one new state opening up and with 10% organic growth they will reach it. With a huge customer base on rev share, great product, the enormous CPAs and potential in the USA. Imagine several acquisitions and several states opening up which is a more likely case. Taking that into consideration, we will end this post in the same way as Per Hellberg ended the Catena Market Capital Day:
“Will Catena Media do more acquisitions, yes they will! Will more states open up, yes it will! Will Catena Media hit the 100 MEUR target, yes they will! Buckle up and enjoy the ride”
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