Sunday 18 March 2018

Desmond invests £1.3m in Dermot Smurfit Jr's GAN gaming business

Businessman Dermot Desmond
Businessman Dermot Desmond
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Dermot Desmond's IIU Nominees (IIU) has invested £1.3m (€1.5m) in Dermot Smurfit Jr's gaming business GAN.

IIU is an existing shareholder in the business and the new investment - via a placing of new shares - takes its stake to 4.6pc.

GAN said it would use the money to accelerate product development for existing clients, and bring new clients onboard.

"Mr Desmond is an astute investor with a long track record of participating in the internet gambling market and we believe this investment validates our strategy and technology which will deliver significant incremental value for shareholders over time," Mr Smurfit, GAN's chief executive, said.

The new shares are expected to be admitted to trading tomorrow, GAN said.

GAN - formerly Game Account Network - provides gaming technology to casinos and online operators. Its products encompass both real-money gambling and what GAN calls "simulated gaming" - selling virtual currency to players who use it to gamble on casino games for entertainment, not profit.

GAN said that this year there has been an "overwhelmingly positive surge in US corporate demand" for its real-money and simulated gaming products.

It said it expects "continued strong demand for both real money Regulated Gaming and Simulated Gaming opportunities in the US, particularly in light of recent regulatory developments in Pennsylvania announced by GAN on June 29 where internet gaming legislation is approved in principle and anticipated to become law in Autumn/Fall of this year".

Other high-profile investors in GAN include Smurfit's uncle Michael Smurfit, who held 9.85pc of the stock as of December 31 last.

Smurfit Kappa chief executive Tony Smurfit - a cousin of the GAN boss - held 8.41pc, while well-known hedge fund manager Crispin Odey's Odey Asset Management held 5.96pc. Dermot Smurfit Jr has previously described Tony Smurfit as a mentor.

"I routinely tease him that he's probably the smartest guy in the family, which winds up his dad - Michael Snr - a little bit. But Tony has been enormously supportive, he's fascinated by the business," Smurfit said in an interview with the 'Sunday Independent' last year.

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