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Sazka bids to acquire OPAP
Posted on Tuesday, 09 July 2019 09:59
Sazka Group, the Czech Republic-based provider of lottery and sports betting services, has submitted a takeover approach for the remaining 67.0 per cent stake it does not already own in Greek peer OPAP.

Under the terms of the proposed deal, the buyer is offering to pay EUR 9.12 per item of stock in the Athens-listed company.

Based on the maximum of 213.73 million shares to be purchased, this values the deal at EUR 1.95 billion.

OPAP was established in 1958 and now employs 1,422 people.

The approach represents a 9.3 per cent discount to the target’s close of EUR 10.05 on 5th July, the last trading day prior to the bid being announced.

Sazka currently indirectly holds a 33.0 per cent share of the target via its 66.7 per cent ownership of Emma Delta.

Trading in OPAP’s shares was suspended yesterday following news of the deal; the suspension was lifted this morning.

OPAP is itself no stranger to the acquisition trail, with its most recent purchase having come in October 2015, when it paid an undisclosed sum to pick up the Horse Racing Organization of Greece from the Greek government.

SAZKA claims to be Europe’s largest lottery company, with leading positions in the Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Austria, Italy and Croatia.

It posted net gaming revenues of EUR 1.30 billion in 2018, up from EUR 1.13 billion over the preceding 12 months.

There have been 41 deals worth a combined USD 3.46 billion targeting gambling companies announced worldwide since the beginning of 2019, compared to the 86 worth USD 12.13 billion which has been signed off by the same date in 2018.

However, last year’s value was boosted by Stars Group’s USD 4.70 billion acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming, as well as Blackstone’s USD 2.41 billion purchase of Spain-headquartered Cirsa Gaming.

2019’s value to date represents an improvement on 2017’s USD 2.38 billion and 2015’s USD 1.45 billion.

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