Entain Plc has pulled out of negotiations to acquire a majority stake in Slovenian monopoly sportsbook operator Športna Loterija.
The FTSE100 gambling group confirmed to STA, Slovenia’s Press Agency, that it had ended negotiations with the Ministry of Finance.
The announcement comes after the Ministry of Finance stated on Friday that all applications to acquire a stake in Športna Loterija had been withdrawn.
Entain provided no further information about the decision or any potential plans to enter the Slovenian market at a later stage, simply stating “we can confirm that after careful consideration, Entain has decided not to proceed with the acquisition of a stake in Športna Loterija for now”.
STA reported that Entain was allegedly planning to carry out the deal with some Czech businessmen and offering between €50-to-€60m.
As such Športna Loterija will continue to be controlled by the three sports associations: the Slovenian Ski Association (SZS), the Olympic Committee of Slovenia (OKS), and the Football Association of Slovenia (NZS).
Slovenian news sources had previously reported of the government allowing a potential sale of a stake in Športna Loterija to part privatise the sports betting monopoly
Although the Ministry of Finance announced that all applications have been withdrawn, the Slovenian Ski Association (SZS), which owns a 20% stake in Športna Loterija, mentioned that the sale might still be completed in 2023.
Eastern European gambling group Superbet is reported to be eyeing developments closely as an option to expand in the Balkans region.
June trading saw Entain agree to terms on a cash deal to acquire STS Group, Poland’s outright market leading sportsbook for €750m.
However, the deal, which saw Entain execute a €600m bookbuild, was scolded by US investor Eminence Capital – which branded the deal as value destroying of Entain’s shareholding and corporate valuation.
Entain will publish its H1 Interim Results on 10 August, in which leadership will provide an update on its eastern Europe expansion and M&A strategy.