Martinez Sampedro family seeks highest fee for Codere exit

The boardroom dispute impacting the future of Bolsa Madrid gambling group Codere SA has intensified as the enterprise founding  Martinez Sampedro family places a Spanish Capital Markets Commission (CNMV) claim against US investor Silver Point Capital.

The two-year dispute takes a further turn, on a matter which an embattled Codere governance outlined would be resolved at the firm’s critical AGM scheduled for 26 July 2019.

Spain’s CNMV officials are set to investigate whether Silver Point had purposely engineered its control of Codere shareholdings and management structures, obstructing the Martinez Sampedro board representation and executive management of the Spanish gambling group.

Mirroring previously failed lawsuits, the  Martinez Sampedro family maintains that US investors should have been forced to submit a formal takeover offer for Codere once they had acquired a 30% shareholding.

To date, Codere’s US investors have stated that no takeover offer was propositioned as their investment formed part of agreed terms brokered during the Spanish gambling group’s 1 billion bankruptcy restructure undertaken during the course 2016.

However, pursuing its Spanish capital markets claim, the  Martinez Sampedro family details that Silver Point (23% shareholder) had entered ‘prior arrangements’ with US counterparts Contrarian and Abrahams Capital seeking to diminish the founding family’s influence on corporate governance procedures.

Leading the CNMV dispute, José Antonio Martínez Sampedro former Codere President & CEO brands Codere US debt holders as ‘vulture funds’, that had manipulated Codere’s 2016 refinancing, with Silver Point further allowed to appoint advisor Norman Sorensen as uncontested Chairman.

In its new filing, the family states that it has secured multiple evidence against Silver Point gained through a US Connecticut District injunction which proves that US debt-holders had engineered removing Sampedro Martinez representation from the company board.

Heading towards Codere’s ‘Critical AGM’,  Martínez Sampedro representatives detail that the family is willing to negotiate its exit from the firm, but that US investors will have to meet a separation fee of circa €210 million.

In previous updates, Codere’s new executive team has highlighted the significance of its upcoming AGM, in which the company seeks to raise a reported €200 million in working capital to fund its ‘Horizon 2021’ corporate recovery programme.

Entering a crucial period for Codere’s existence, this June the Spanish gambling group appointed investment bank Credit Suisse to lead its corporate refinancing options, whilst further reviewing South American options with the aim of funding expansion projects within Mexico.

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