Business

Bittnet takes stake in Equatorial Gaming to extend portfolio

Bittnet, a leader in Romanian IT training and integrator of IT solutions, has completed the purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Equatorial Gaming, a game-based learning company. This latest deal comes less than a month after Bittnet took a controlling stake in another IT company, Elian Solutions.

“Our investment in Equatorial Gaming, is part of our 2018-2020 growth strategy,” said Mihai Logofatu, CEO at Bittnet. “As technology evolves, so does the manner in which adults learn. We are excited about enlarging our education portfolio with proprietary products, which are innovative and oriented towards future and that will surely bring a positive difference to our clients.”

Equatorial’s history dates back to 1997, when the company was delivering transformational training and consulting programmes at an individual, team and organisational level in Romania and abroad. In 2015, the company launched Equatorial Marathon, an alternate reality game for corporations, which increases the level of engagement and stimulates behavioural changes in employees. The product is available around the clock, on multiple devices and has been used for learning, academic projects and conferences in Romania, Poland, Italy and France.

“We are proud to have developed products with 100 per cent Romanian methodology that are being successfully exported to mature markets in Western Europe,” said Dan Berteanu, CEO at Equatorial Gaming. “This transaction comes after several years of collaboration between Bittnet and Equatorial Gaming. In recent years, we have identified a number of collaborative opportunities based on our shared portfolio of educational services and, above all, our similar vision dedicated to developing at the European level.”

The investment has two components. In the first phase, which is estimated to close by September 15, Bittnet will acquire 24,9989 per cent of Equatorial Gaming shares in exchange for 1.05 million lei (225,000 euros). In the second stage, Bittnet will grant Equatorial Gaming a convertible loan (with a conversion option at discretion of Bittnet’s management), also worth 1.05 million lei, for a period of three years, with an interest rate of nine per cent per year. If Bittnet exercises its convertibility option, its stake in Equatorial Gaming will reach 45 per cent.

“An estimated 100 billion euros are spent every year in Europe on training programmes. Over the past few years we have benefitted from the position of leader on the Romanian IT training market, but we also have recognised that in order to stay ahead and keep building our position, we need to constantly bring new solutions to our clients. Our investment in Equatorial Gaming aims to serve these exact purposes“, said Cristian Logofatu, CFO at Bittnet.

This is Bittnet Group’s third acquisition of last 12 months. In the third quarter of 2017, Bittnet acquired GECAD NET, an IT services integrator, which is now present on the Romanian market under the Dendrio brand. The capital for acquisition of Bittnet’s stake in Equatorial Gaming was raised during  a private placement of corporate bonds (BNET23) on the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BSE), successfully closed at the beginning of July 2018 when the company raised 4.7 million in financing.

Photo: Equatorial Marathon screenshot

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