SAZKA secures €500m Apollo investment to fund global M&A drive

SAZKA Group has accepted a €500 million ($590m) investment from New York private equity firm Apollo Global Management to advance its European and North American growth options.

The transaction has been approved by SAZKA holding company KKCG AG, the investment fund of Czech billionaire Karel Komárek, who is the majority shareholder and Chairman of SAZKA Group.

Apollo’s €500 million fund will be maintained through newly formed subsidiary SAZKA Entertainment AG – for which the “majority of Apollo funds will be used to capitalise on acquisition and growth opportunities in Europe and North America, with a focus on lotteries”.  

Issuing a statement, Komárek and KKCG supported the transaction as an investment to lead SAZKA into a new era for global gambling, in which the Czech conglomerate had received a number of offers to support its global expansion strategy. 

“I believe the interest in SAZKA Group from one of the world’s leading investors in gaming and largest alternative investment managers and globally confirms the value and strategy of SAZKA Group and is an endorsement of the excellent work of the entire SAZKA Group management team,” Komárek stated.

“SAZKA Group is well-positioned to expand in Europe, the US and other potential regions, continuing to focus on lottery and complementary gaming verticals. 

“I am convinced that the gaming industry is one of the most promising sectors for the future and SAZKA Group aspires to be a global player in this sphere.  I have absolute confidence that with support from Apollo my team will take the business to the next level.”  

2019 saw Komárek retake majority ownership of SAZKA, with his KKCG fund securing full control of the firm’s gambling portfolio following a split from former investment partner EMMA Capital.

A reformed SAZKA has also expanded its European gambling portfolio by securing majority investment in OPAP Greece (40%) and Casinos Austria (+50%). 

Last month, SAZKA confirmed that it had completed its registration to compete in the UK government’s fourth National Lottery competition, seeking to replace incumbent Camelot Group as the operating company of the UK National Lottery in 2023.

“We are very excited to invest in SAZKA Group, one of Europe’s leading private lottery operators,” added James Kim, Apollo Partner and European Co-Head of Hybrid Value. 

“SAZKA has a very successful track record of organic and inorganic growth and we believe this investment, coupled with our sector expertise and relationships, will help the management team achieve their strategic growth plans in Europe and around the globe.”

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