US: Technology-driven travel company Monaker Group has entered into a binding agreement to acquire a majority stake in British Virgins Island-based in-game advertising company HotPlay Enterprise Limited.
The company will also acquire shares and certain loans of Axion Ventures from related shareholders of HotPlay who also control a minority interest in Axion and have provided a majority of the credit to it. Under the terms of the agreements, the shareholders of HotPlay will become the majority shareholders of the company following the closings, and at least US $15 million will be made available for its expansion post-merger.
Upon the closing, the two companies would become a combined public entity under Monaker Group, with HotPlay’s shareholders becoming the company’s largest stakeholders with a controlling interest in the combined public company and the transaction resulting in a change of control of the business.
HotPlay is an in-game advertising [IGA] company which leverages proprietary artificial intelligence [AI] and harmonises engagement between businesses and consumers. It is also in the process of signing agreements to roll out the platform in several more countries in Southeast Asia.
With these acquisitions, Monaker Group is planning to transition from a solely travel based company to a travel company with gaming and in-game advertising, with the goal of engaging consumers through digital advertising, gaming and travel platforms. In addition, it wants to enhance the Monaker Booking Engine, as well as its NextTrip and Maupintour travel offerings, through increased technology capabilities – including the adoption of artificial intelligence and blockchain – and access to additional technology talent in those areas to further revolutionise the Monaker travel brands.
Monaker Group vice chairman and CEO, Bill Kerby, said: “We are thrilled with this opportunity to join forces with such large multi-national players. The acquisition of HotPlay and the minority ownership in Axion will represent a tremendous addition for our stakeholders and will position Monaker as a diversified global company that monetises engaging, connective platform technologies.
“We anticipate greater visibility and therefore success of Monaker’s travel brand upon the closing of the transactions, in addition to the contributions from what will be two new divisions of the company, [i] gaming and [ii] in-game advertising. Gaming and in-game advertising [IGA] are booming and the IGA application for travel advertising is expected to be substantial,” he added.
The parties expect to close the acquisition in the third or fourth quarter of 2020.
Monaker Group focuses on delivering innovation to the alternative lodging rental [ALR] market and its proprietary Monaker Booking [MBE] provides access to over 2.6 million instantly bookable vacation rental homes, villas, chalets, apartments, condos, resort residences and castles.