Outlines Corporate Vision and Discusses Ongoing Restructuring to Enhance Operational Efficiency
Reports Annualized Cost Reductions Anticipated to Exceed $4.0 Million
Reduces Debt and Other Liabilities by Over $27 million, Year-to-Date
Esports Entertainment Group, Inc. (GMBL) (GMBLP) (GMBLW) (GMBLZ) ("Esports Entertainment" or the "Company"), a leading, global iGaming company and business-to-business (B2B) esports content and solutions provider, today provided the following letter to shareholders from the Company's CEO, Alex Igelman, including an update on its ongoing restructuring plan aimed at driving accelerated growth and increased operational efficiency:
To my fellow shareholders,
Since joining the Company approximately three months ago, I immediately undertook a top-to-bottom review of the entire organization based on where I believe the esports and esports gambling industries are heading, and then tied this into a cohesive vision for the Company. Esports Entertainment already owns several valuable assets that it had previously acquired and, going forward, these assets should serve as the foundation for the Company's new direction. By concentrating our efforts and streamlining the business, I am extremely confident in our ability to establish a dominant position within this high-growth industry and drive long-term profitability.
As a business-to-consumer (B2C) iGaming operator in international markets, operating under our MGA license, we plan to have a renewed focus on esports wagering through new betting content and offerings. Concurrently, the Company is implementing strategies to expand its B2C esports wagering services through its Idefix platform, and we are in the final stages of integrating the Oddin.gg iFrame solution on our platform for esports wagering. Eventually, we plan to offer an "esports-first," Idefix-based B2B platform for sale and distribution to third parties. Through the Idefix iGaming platform and the MGA-based suite of B2C brands, together with growth opportunities in the B2B platform sector, we anticipate a unique opportunity to bridge the iGaming and esports worlds.
In the US market, we expect to direct our attention toward aggregating and supplying B2B esports solutions and content for the esports and esports gambling industries. The Company also plans to direct significant attention toward bespoke e-simulator tournaments and related e-simulator content. EEG is already well known in the esports community for its highly valuable esports venue management solution through its ggCircuit division, which has an established presence in the US and globally. Among the markets we plan to target, we believe there is a significant near-term opportunity within the education market, where there has been considerable growth across both domestic and international college and university campuses as well as K-12 schools. We also plan to enhance the existing ggCircuit software with unique features that facilitate integration with esports wagering content where it is legally permitted, and incorporate several achievable add-ons to the software, resulting in increased revenue for both clients and the Company."
In addition to our near- and long-term growth strategies, we are divesting or closing non-core business lines to streamline our operations. In January of this year, we completed the sale of our eSports Spanish Gaming license for approximately $1.2 million. On the immediate heels of this transaction, we completed the sale of the Bethard business in February for approximately $1.7 million in cash at closing, and further eliminated debt and liabilities to the Bethard business of approximately $7.5 million. In March, we initiated the liquidation of Argyll Entertainment, an online gambling business in the UK with recurring losses.
We have also reduced headcount from 158 full-time employees at December 31, 2022, to 99 full-time employees, inclusive of planned reductions. As a result, annualized salaries are expected to decline by approximately 36% based on the actions being taken thus far. Although we incurred upfront costs related to the restructuring, over time, these initiatives are expected to lower our operating expenses by over $4.0 million on an annualized basis. In addition, we have pinpointed further opportunities for cost savings.
Balance Sheet Improvement
We have dramatically enhanced our balance sheet. Specifically, we reduced debt and other liabilities by approximately $27.1 million since December 31, 2022. The principal amount of our Senior Convertible Note was reduced by $16.3 million, from $32.2 million at December 31, 2022, to $15.9 million as of March 31, 2023. Other payables to the holder of the Senior Convertible Note were reduced by $2.5 million. Through the sale of the aforementioned Bethard business earlier this year, we eliminated approximately $7.5 million of debt and liabilities. Lastly, we terminated a lease, resulting in a $0.8 million reduction in lease liability. We appreciate the support of our senior lender and are working to convert additional debt to preferred equity, which we believe illustrates their confidence in the long-term outlook for the business.
In addition to my own appointment as CEO earlier this year, we recently promoted Michael Villani to interim CFO. Michael brings deep experience in corporate finance and capital markets and has been instrumental in the restructuring of the business and resulting cost reductions. Before joining Esports Entertainment, Michael worked as a Director in the Deal Advisory practice of KPMG supporting clients with technical accounting, buy-side and sell-side transactions, initial public offerings and SEC reporting. He also served as the Chief Financial Officer of a Geneva-based hedge fund and held other senior accounting roles at a number of public companies. Moreover, we eliminated non-core, senior leadership positions that were not aligned with the future direction of the Company.
The esports betting landscape today lacks uniformity and is often either a by-product of traditional sports betting, or something that conventional US bookmakers struggle to comprehend and integrate seamlessly into their platforms. Esports Entertainment has extremely valuable and differentiated assets, which we believe will be key to the future of this industry. We are executing on our vision with a specific focus on esports betting solutions and esports e-simulator content, targeting both the B2B and B2C markets.
I strongly believe that our achievements over a short three-month span are truly noteworthy. However, this is merely the starting point of our journey. Our team now comprises seasoned gambling executives, former regulators, and video game industry professionals, all of whom are committed to realizing this vision. We are also diversifying our sources of revenue to create a more resilient and sustainable business model. With the right leadership, direction and financial discipline, I am extremely confident we can establish Esports Entertainment as a leader in this rapidly emerging market, while unlocking value for shareholders.
We truly appreciate the support of our shareholders and look forward to providing further updates on our progress in the weeks and months ahead.
Chief Executive Officer
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