Athens suspends OPAP listing on speculation of SAZKA takeover

The Athens Securities & Exchange Commission has this morning moved to temporarily suspend the listing of OPAP SA, in light of speculation of a ‘major imminent corporate event’.

Greek business news sources this morning report that Czech gambling conglomerate SAZKA Group seeks to significantly expand its holdings in OPAP, the former state-owned enterprise and Greece’s largest lottery and sports betting operator.

SAZKA’s advance on OPAP follows the gambling conglomerate’s ownership split sanctioned last March, which saw Czech billionaire Karel Komarek Jr take full control of SAZKA’s pan-European gambling portfolio.

Placed under the ownership of Komarek’s private equity fund KKCG, SAZKA is reported to be reviewing its European investment options, seeking to aggressively expand its holdings in established European gambling enterprises.

At present, SAZKA holds a reported 33% shareholding in OPAP. Greek news sources report that Komarek has personally sanctioned the offer of a ‘40% premium of €14-per-share’ to take ‘full control’ of the Athens listed gambling group.

Early Greek news reports state that Komarek views OPAP as the most important asset in SAZKA’s gambling portfolio which maintains significant investments Casinos Austria and LOTTO ITALIA.

In previous updates, the KKCG fund confirmed that it had appointed investment banks Citi Group and Cazenove to review potential options with regards to SAZKA floating on the London Stock Exchange.

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