Affiliate marketing giant Better Collective has finalised the acquisition of esports platform HLTV.org ApS in a deal worth up to €34.5m (£29.7m/$38.1m).

Better Collective will pay an initial €26.4m to purchase HLTV.org, which includes the assets HLTV.org and dust2.dk. A total of €23.7m in cash and shares of Better Collective will be issued no later than 13 March.

The remaining €8.1m will be structured as three separate earn-out payments to be paid over the next three years, subject to HLTV.org reaching certain financial performance criteria.

Founded in 2002 in Denmark, HLTV.org provides news from the esports market, specialising in the CS:GO title. Users can access CS:GO match information and player and team rankings, with the website receiving more than 26.5 million visits per month.

HLTV.org also hosts a fantasy esports section, where community users compete against each other by compiling rosters of real CS:GO players. Points are won based on the real-life performance by the CS:GO players.

During the 12 months to 30 June 2020, HLTV.org’s platforms generated €5.0m in revenue and posted approximately €3.5m in earnings before tax. Better Collective will consolidate the business into its accounts from 1 March, 2020.

In addition, it was also agreed that HLTV.org’s founders will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the business management for the next three years to ensure continued development of the platforms and communities.

“We have carefully analysed and monitored esports for a long time; it is a rapidly growing industry and we consider esports an ideal extension to our sports focused business,” Better Collective chief executive Jesper Søgaard said.

“The nature of esports betting differs significantly from traditional sports betting and, therefore, it was essential to find the right partner, adding deep know-how and industry knowledge to Better Collective. I am confident that, through this acquisition, we have found the right people who operate some of the best-positioned esports brands in the world.

“We expect strong synergistic effects as many of the betting operators we collaborate with today also offer bets on esports, so I look forward to a prosperous esports future for Better Collective together with our new colleagues.”

HLTV.org chief executive Martin Rosenbæk added: “Joining the Better Collective group will support our ambition to remain the preferred CS:GO brand for esports enthusiasts across the world.

“With more than 15 years of experience within sports betting, the Better Collective group has a deep understanding of sports communities and how to utilise technology to enhance the player experience.

“Combining this with the experience we have gathered from developing within the CS:GO community, we are strongly positioned to grow and build even stronger brands and experiences that will benefit the global network of CS:GO fans and our business.”

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