SBC News Allwyn US listing put on hold as Cohn Robbins combination abandoned

Allwyn US listing put on hold as Cohn Robbins combination abandoned

Allwyn has stated that a public listing and expansion of its operations in the US remain future objectives, despite shelving its proposed merger with SPAC Cohn Robbins Holdings Corp (CRHC).

The European lottery operator announced over the weekend that the duo had ‘jointly decided’ not to pursue the planned business combination, citing several factors. 

These included the timing of the arrangement with substantial market volatility, in particular a ‘backdrop of concerns’ regarding inflation, interest rates and recession in current global economic circumstances.

The announcement ends a nine months long negotiation process, which saw Allwyn raise $700m from investors to support the £9.3bn listing, despite the concerns outlined above, since first making its ambitions clear in January in partnership with Cohn Robbins.

Robert Chvátal, Allwyn Group CEO, said: “Allwyn was encouraged by the feedback from many leading investors, demonstrating the attractiveness of our business to the investment community.

“However, due to the prolonged and increasing market volatility, we and Cohn Robbins have decided not to proceed with the proposed business combination. We are grateful to the firm’s founders, Gary Cohn and Cliff Robbins, for their support over the past year and hope to work with them again in the future.

“As demonstrated by our recent results, Allwyn is a highly cash generative business with a strong financial and operational platform to pursue its organic and inorganic growth strategy and to invest in new opportunities.”

Allwyn remains steadfast that an expansion of its operations in the burgeoning US gaming market is still a key goal moving forward, as is a public listing – although it is not clear whether such a listing would take place on the NYSE as planned with CHRC, or a European exchange. 

The company maintains an active presence throughout Europe in several countries through its suite of brands, including SAZKA in the Czech Republic, OPAP in Greece and Casinos Austria and Lotteries Austria.

Most significantly for the group this year, it has been named as the preferred candidate to manage the UK’s National Lottery for the next 10 years, taking the reins from long-term – and as of 2021 the only – operator Camelot.

Although hitting some hurdles during the listing process and having now made the decision to abandon its merger with CHRC, Allwyn remains in a strong position, reporting H1 2022 gross gaming revenues of €1.77bn earlier this month. 

CHRC, meanwhile, will ‘consider in due course’ its next steps, including whether it will seek alternative business combinations, with its shareholders having approved an initial extension of its expiration date to 11 December 2022.

Gary D Cohn and Clifton S. Robbins, CRHC’s Co-Founders and Co-Chairmen, stated: “Our partnership with Allwyn was announced in January and since then we have witnessed a pronounced negative turn in market psychology, and just a week ago, the market suffered its worst day since June 2020. 

“Karel Komárek and his teams at KKCG and Allwyn have much to be proud of in the lottery-led entertainment company they are building. Nevertheless, the persistently volatile and negative market conditions have led to our mutual decision with Allwyn not to proceed in completing the transaction. We wish them every success going forward.”

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