The owner of major betting companies such as Paddy Power and Betfair, Flutter Entertainment, has bought an initial 51 per cent stake in Serbian gambling operator MaxBet Kladionica.
The Irish gambling giant shelled out €141m (£123m) for MaxBet with an option to acquire the remaining 49 per cent in 2029.
Shares nudged up over one per cent on Wednesday morning.
Flutter said the purchase boosts its commercial prospects in the Balkans region, with MaxBet being the second largest Serbian operator with a 20 per cent online share and smaller operations in Bosnia, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
“MaxBet has successfully capitalised on the fast-growing online market in Serbia which grew by 25 per cent on a compound annual basis over the last five years,” Flutter said.
In June, Maxbet reported full year revenues of €145m (£126m), 44 per cent of which came from online.
“We believe MaxBet is an excellent opportunity to replicate the success we have achieved in markets like Georgia, India and Italy,” said Flutter chief Peter Jackson.
“We see a compelling opportunity to combine that extensive local expertise with the power of the Flutter Edge to accelerate and transform growth,” he added.
It has more than 400 retail outlets across four markets and 95,000 online average monthly players.
“This acquisition continues our progress against the strategic priorities we have set for our International division; to buy and build podium positions in regulated markets,” said Jackson.