CVC collects another bookmaker with €1bn Sisal acquisition

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Luxembourg-based private equity  firm CVC Capital Partners has extended its reach into the betting industry once again with the news that it has agreed to acquire a 100% equity stake in Italian gaming and payments operator Sisal Group S.p.A.

The acquisition will see CVC assume Sisal’s €960 million corporate debt, with the PE firm expected to make an estimated €1 billion tender to takeover group assets. In its 2015 earnings report, Sisal reported a net loss of €40 million on earnings of €182 million  attached to group revenues of €787 million.

If approved by regulators, CVC will acquire Italy’s second largest gambling operator which currently services a portfolio of 45,000 sanctioned outlets for lottery products, licensed sports betting and video lottery terminals.

In the past 18 months CVC has expanded aggressively its investment portfolio within European gambling.  In December 2014, the company made its first acquisition in the sector acquiring Sky Betting & Gaming from BskyB for £800 million.

Last April CVC beat-off competition from rival PE firm Centerbridge and Deutsche Telekom to secure a majority stake in German sports betting operator Tipico Co for €1 billion.

Confirming CVC’s acquiring bid, Sisal governance detailed to investors that the company had partnered to create a ‘formidable European gambling powerhouse’ which would maximise Sisal’s value.

Giampiero Mazza, Partner and Head of CVC’s Italian team, said: “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to invest in Sisal. The Company is a well-diversified entertainment business with a historical brand in Italy and strong market positions across gaming, lotteries, betting and convenience payments.

“Under its previous shareholders and the management team led by Emilio Petrone, Sisal was able to grow and reshape its business perimeter thorough a period of difficult macro conditions and regulatory uncertainty. Sisal today is ideally positioned to capture growth in a number of areas.

“We look forward to support Emilio and his team to consolidate Sisal’s leadership in the payments space, continue to develop its online gaming and betting platform and further innovate its proposition in proximity retail.”

Emilio Petrone, CEO of Sisal Group, added: “I would like to congratulate the entire CVC Milan Team for finalising a great acquisition. Sisal, celebrating its 70th anniversary, is a very important Italian company that is enjoying a period of fantastic growth and overall results. I am confident that with CVC, we will make a formidable team enabling Sisal to fully exploit its potential, becoming even stronger and more competitive. Personally, I am thrilled to lead this new, exciting phase in the company’s history. I want to thank Apax, Permira and Clessidra for the consistent and valuable support they have given to me and the company over the last years”.

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