Online bingo operator full of jackpot joy after securing London listing

A Canadian online bingo operator is poised to complete long-delayed plans to move its stock market listing to London after securing final approval from the UK Listing Authority.

Intertain, which is changing its name to Jackpotjoy, its main brand, announced in September that it would list on the London Stock Exchange in early to mid-October but had to clear a number of hurdles. The delay is understood to have been caused by “legacy issues”, including a £150 million earnout payment on its acquisition of the Jackpotjoy and Starspins brands from Gamesys two years ago.

£160m: Intertain’s additional debt finance

Further doubts over the proposed London listing arose after Credit Suisse resigned as its adviser without any reason being given. It has now been replaced by Canaccord. Last month, the company also addressed the Gamesys earnout issue by announcing that it had raised £160 million of additional debt finance from Macquarie Capital. The total earnout has been capped at £375 million.

As part of its move to a main London listing on January 25, Jackpotjoy has revamped its top management. Andy McIver, former chief executive of Sportingbet, has been appointed chief executive, and Neil Goulden, former chairman and chief executive of Gala Coral, has been named as chairman.

Some analysts expressed scepticism over the company’s financial position, arguing that the earnout agreement effectively means it has little or no control over its main asset and swallows most of its cashflow. “Gamesys is holding all the cards,” one said.

Another observer expressed surprise at the onerous terms of the new debt finance from Macquarie, one tranche of which carries an interest rate of Libor plus 9 per cent. “This reflects limited faith in the Intertain assets,” he said.

A source close to the listing process said: “This is a good business and the issues have been sorted. The listing is going ahead and it’ll be a clean sheet.”