Pierre Cadena - Catena Media

Malta-headquartered Catena Media is set to introduce a number of organisational and leadership changes in order to confront a sustained poor performance in the first quarter of 2024 (Q1 2024), interim CEO Pierre Cadena has stated.

His comments came as part of the iGaming lead-generation company interim report for the opening quarter of 2024, during which revenue from its continuing operations dropped by 49.2 per cent to €16 million (Q1 2023: €31.5 million). This decrease was largely a result of a drop in revenue in North America, which went down by 50 per cent to €14.3 million, equivalent to 90 per cent of group revenue from continuing operations during the quarter.

When coupled with operating expenses that remained relatively to the same period in 2023, this drop in revenue resulted in a loss before tax of €1.9 million. This is a stark underperformance when compared to the €12.9 million pre-tax profit registered in 2023’s opening quarter. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to €1.9 million, a significant decrease from the €18.7 million recorded in Q1 2023.

Catena Media is a global leader in generating high value leads for operators in online casino, sports better, and financial trading. It has an extensive portfolio of web-based affiliation brands that guide users to customer websites and enrich the experience of players worldwide.

Mr Cadena noted that in order to combat this performance, Catena Media is implementing a programme of organisational and leadership changes. He added that this transition is “essential” as the company seeks to target organic revenue growth in the second half of 2024.

“Operational outcomes during the period were again unsatisfactory, especially in North American sports. Stronger competition, tightened marketing spending by operators, and challenging comparables with Q1 2023 – when online sports betting went live in Ohio and Massachusetts – combined to push revenue and EBITDA lower,” he remarked. However, Mr Cadena also noted that the legalisation of online sports betting in North Carolina midway through March provided a “positive uplift,” prompting it to be the company’s strongest performing US state in the quarter.

He added that Catena Media is facing increasing competition as more affiliates enter the North American sports betting industry. “Crimped operator marketing budgets again squeezed user traffic and reduced the recruitment of new depositing customers. We nevertheless showed resilience by maintaining stable conversion rates,” Mr Cadena said. On the other hand, he said that casino performance was more resilient, with revenue holding “relatively firmer.”

Mr Cadena said that a number of changes are set to take place in the company over the coming months to achieve a “turnaround” in performance. These include the appointment of Manuel Stan as CEO, effective from 1st July 2024, taking the place of Michael Daly who departed in February. Mr Cadena took charge as CEO in the interim. In April, Catena Media also named Michael Gerrow as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), replacing Peter Messner – who stepped down in the same month as Mr Daly – as well as Edward Midolo as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

Manuel Stan / Catena Media
Incoming Catena Media CEO Manuel Stan / LinkedIn

“We expect to expand the leadership rebuild in the near future with senior appointments for product and commercial roles. I am confident that the new team possess the experience and acumen to improve operating performance and drive the business forward after several recent disappointing quarters,” Mr Cadena continued.

He added that it is important for the company to build new verticals “methodically and from the ground up,” with Catena Media’s esports business being a testament to this approach. Mr Cadena acknowledged that this particular line of business is now “flourishing and generating strong revenue growth” after several years building traffic and brand authority.

“It provides a successful model for how we can take Catena Media forward across different areas as we diversify the business model and position for a multichannel future,” he concluded.

Featured Image:

Catena Media interim CEO Pierre Cadena / Catena Media

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