Effort and Ingenuity – The Road to Consolidation

Tim Stocks gave a presentation on 18 November 2016, at SiGMA 16 - Summit of iGamining in Malta, on developments in mergers and acquisitions in the on-line gaming market. Consolidation in this sector will continue to be important because of the global trend for governments to increase taxes on gambling.

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The Rules of the Game

In the heart of Covent Garden lies Rules, a history packed eatery established in 1798 by Thomas Rule.  Boasting its Englishness, the restaurant, which has survived world wars and the test of time, is professed to be the oldest restaurant in the capital.  This quintessentially British establishment is renowned for serving a vast array of game sourced from its estate in the High Pennines, “England’s last wilderness”. The contentious matter of where a pub ends and a restaurant begins, sparks the debate of whether this old English site, having been graced with the presence of Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells and Charlie Chaplin, is in fact the oldest restaurant in town. 

 

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Mismatches, Drawing Boards and Product Reforms – England/Iceland and Financial Services!

Urgent Structural Reforms Needed

Every time there is a financial markets liquidity mismatch between an investment product and its underlying assets, there is much shaking of heads but no action is ever taken to remedy the situation. The financial crisis of 2007/8 was a result of several ‘bubble’ factors, but it was exacerbated by liquidity mismatches that resulted in a credit crunch.

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Tax Mitigation is Losing Interest

Mitigation of tax has not always involved establishing offshore companies via Panama. Importantly the ability to deduct interest when calculating taxable profits has been an element of tax mitigation.  Virtually all the world’s corporation taxes in whatever jurisdiction, are structured around the return to equity net of the cost of debt finance. Accordingly, the UK tax code permits the deduction of debt interest on monies borrowed by corporates when calculating taxable profits. Some consider this to risk creating a distortion in economic behaviour with greater use of debt finance in capital structures. In private equity structures this resulted in a significant element of funding being made available through “debt” instruments rather than equity subscription. Such instruments however carried many features associated with the benefit of being an equity holder for instance; rights to consent, rights to appoint Board representatives and fixed rates of return with rights to participate in residual income.

 

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Eastern Skies and Western Windows

Gazing down from “The Peak” in Hong Kong the phrase “Dynamic City” is explained with underlining and capital letters. At twilight the glass, steel and concrete buildings become illuminated with a rainbow of light and colour. Like everything in Hong Kong, light is put to good use to extol the virtue of products, brands and corporate identity. But this very modern city is built on a strong foundation of experience. Such wisdom being applied to create the economic success story which is Hong Kong today. In building the financial foundations of this City the founding fathers proposed one simple strategy, “what regulations do we need in place to attract overseas capital?” Often the answer has been a reaction to a flight of capital triggered by a crisis.

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The Lyon is King

At the end of Agar Street, WC2 at the junction with Chandos Place, there is a splendid café serving excellent afternoon teas and cakes.  A throw-back to the Lyons Corner Houses of Edwardian London.  Spread over several floors customers could at their leisure catch-up with each other over coffee or tea whilst listening to calming music provided by the musicians of J Lyons & Co.  All away from the hustle of London street life.

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Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Pete Seeger may have penned this song in 1955 as a political rallying cry against the established world but the "flowers" could apply equally in the Spring of 2015 to the British Merchant Banking sector.

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Consolidation Trends in Global Online Gambling

Tim Stocks gave a presentation on 23 April, at the KPMG Gibraltar eSummit 2015, on developments in M&A in the gaming sector, demonstrating how this is an established part of global industrial sectors with investors and lenders increasingly prepared to commit capital to it. Scale is becoming increasingly important in marking the territory between winners and losers in the sector especially given the costs of client acquisition, compliance, tax and technology to support on-line and hand held device platforms.

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Wordsworth the great Lakeland poet in Harpenden

In a nod to Wordsworth is was a pleasure to walk out through the front garden this morning and see a group of six daffodils all in full yellow bloom like Welsh supporters at a rugby match.  These daffodils planted as bulbs, in an Autumn frenzy, having been bought in bulk and abandoned on the garage floor had survived the wettest winter on record and were now giving pleasure to passing dog walkers, the postman and me.

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