In October, the Malta-headquartered Tipico enlisted the help of JP Morgan and Rothschild to explore a potential sale of the business, with names like Amaya Gaming, 888 Holdings and William Hill bandied about as potential suitors.
On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Centerbridge had thrown their hats into the ring via a tandem bid that would see DT take a minority stake in Tipico. Details were scant, but the DT/Centerbridge bid reportedly meets Tipico’s original estimation that the company is worth around €1b.
Tipico is one of Germany’s largest retail and online betting operators, with earnings of around €110m in 2015. Tipico recently burnished its visibility in the German market by entering into a four-year official betting partnership with football giants Bayern Munich, adding to existing Bundesliga deals with FC Hoffenheim and Hamburger SV.
DT already has a toehold in the German online sports betting market, having launched its Tipp3.de site last April after acquiring a majority stake in Austrian operator Deutsche Sportswetten.
Final bids for Tipico are required to be submitted by the end of next week. Among the other suitors reportedly vying for the acquisition are private equity group CVC Partners, which acquired a majority stake in Sky Betting & Gaming last year.
Chinese buyout firm XIO Group is also believed to be kicking Tipico’s tires. Czech betting operator Sazka was interested in Tipico but their interest has reportedly waned following the recent deal to acquire Casinos Austria via a consortium with the Novomatic Group.
Germany’s sports betting market is currently in a state of flux, following multiple court rulings that found the current federal gambling treaty failed to meet the European Union’s competition standards. Tipico wasn’t among the 20 original recipients of a German sports betting license but the government has recently proposed amending its treaty to ensure that all applicants who made it past the first regulatory hurdle would also be eligible for a new license.