MyBet Plans German Equity Liquidation after Sales Talks Collapse

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MyBet Holding SE announces imminent liquidation plans after a tentative deal to sell its online consumer-based business falls through.

MyBet Holding SE, the parent company of MyBet.com, appears poised for closure soon after sales talks involving the entirety of its customer-facing gambling business have ended. MyBet, a well-known brand with German origins that maintains corporate offices in Berlin, Cologne, and Malta, on August 14 announced its plans to enter insolvency proceedings after talks with a “strategic investor” failed to produce a deal.

In a corporate disclosure, the company announced its plan to wind down all three of its business-to-consumer entities: MyBet Holding SE, Personal Exchange International Ltd. (“PEI”), and PNO Casino Ltd. (“PNO”). According to the disclosure, “The company aims to file the application for all three German group companies including the Company itself to the responsible local court this Friday [August 17].”

The company had hoped to sell the entirety of its MyBet-branded online business for an amount in the “high single-digit million range” (in euros), while maintaining its existing separate business-to-business (B2B) concerns, along with a smallish number of land-based betting shops.

Tax troubles in Germany

The reason for the collapse of the deal with the unnamed strategic investor remains undisclosed, but part of the problem was a hefty tax bill owed in Germany. The company disclosed that tax authorities in Frankfurt, in the German state of Hesse, had rejected an application for the provisional suspension of sports betting-related taxes already assessed.

That application was made by MyBet’s Malta arm, PEI, with the hope of gaining the provisional suspension or stay of enforcement regarding the outstanding taxes. Instead, the Frankfort tax authorities rejected the application, leaving MyBet owing roughly €4m ($4.5m; £3.6m).

MyBet’s online sports-betting and casino offerings remain available to the public, including in the German state of Hesse, where the company’s tax problems continue. MyBet long ago stopped accepting traffic from two other German states, Schleswig-Holstein and Berlin, in addition to other countries such as France, Belgium, Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

Long company history endangered

Despite its smallish size, MyBet has a history longer than most gambling operators, stretching back more than three decades. The company’s roots go back to a non-gambling German business entity named Designgruppe Transparent, which entered the gambling world in 1986, renaming itself as ANYBET GmbH, a limited liability company. ANYBET moved into the online-lottery business during the earliest days of online gambling, creating JAXX GmbH in 1997 and starting up JAXX.de a year later.

The entity that became MyBet Holding SE, originally named fluxx.com AG (later FLUXX), was created in 1999; the company also offered an IPO investment opportunity that same year. Later, among other pickups and divestitures, MyBet purchased Malta-based sports betting site PEI in 2006, thus expanding its toehold in that niche. The company also expanded beyond its German and European roots, such as in Ghana, where the company became one of that African company’s most recognizable sports-betting brands.

MyBet sold off the last off its lottery-related business in 2012, the same year it became one of the first 20 sports-betting brands licensed to offer its services in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. That state-level licensing, however, occurred within the legal quicksand of Germany’s revised gambling rules, and the company was never able to take advantage of the partial market advantage the licensing offered. Instead, MyBet encountered stale online numbers and ran into the back-tax situation in Hesse over the company’s revenue in that state.