CIRSA demands that Ladbrokes offload stake in Sportium joint-venture

Spanish business news source Economia Digital reports that Grupo CIRSA has sued joint-venture partner Ladbrokes (GVC Holdings) in relation to the ownership structure of its ‘Sportium’ subsidiary.

Economia Digital reports that, in July 2018, CIRSA governance filed a Madrid Court challenge against Ladbrokes stating that Sportium joint-venture terms and agreements had been completely altered by GVC Holdings £4 billion takeover of Ladbrokes Coral Plc (deal completed March 2018).

CIRSA, who in 2018 was acquired by US private equity group Blackstone, said that Ladbrokes can no longer fulfil its joint-venture role as its owner GVC Holdings is considered a ‘Spanish market competitor of CIRSA’.

In its court filing, CIRSA governance details that Sportium cannot maintain a 50/50 JV partnership with GVC Holdings, a company operating direct competitors Bwin.es and partygaming assets.

Blackstone and CIRSA Chief Executive Joaquim Agut have therefore demanded that the Madrid Court order Ladbrokes to sell its 50% equity in Sportium at a ‘fair price’.

GVC has branded CIRSA dispute as dishonest, underlining that the Spanish Gambling firm had changed ownership during 2018, forcing Ladbrokes to make necessary partnership adjustments.

When Sportium was launched in 2013, Ladbrokes consolidated its Spanish sports betting brand LBpuestas, while CIRSA moved to relaunch its Spanish market betting proposition under the Sportium domain. The operator has since expanded its betting network to +3,000 betting points across Spain, becoming the nation’s biggest retail bookmaker.

In further related news, Blackstone confirmed this week that it had acquired Spanish market fruit machine and gaming halls operator Giga Games, an asset that will be absorbed by CIRSA’s enlarged Spanish market portfolio.

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