Private equity group CVC Capital Partners announced over the weekend that it has acquired a majority stake in German sports betting operator Tipico.
Financial details of the transaction weren’t disclosed, but Tipico’s original estimation valued the company to be worth between €1 billion (US$1.12 billion to $1.68 billion).
CVC Partners already owns a majority stake in UK sports betting company Sky Betting & Gaming, but the Tipico acquisition will be the financial investor’s first deal since it hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s ex-Germany chief Alexander Dibelius last year, The Wall Street Journal reported.
So far, Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Centerbridge had already thrown their hats into the ring via a tandem bid that would see DT take a minority stake in Tipico. Other firms that have sent feelers include Chinese buyout company XIO Group and Czech betting operator Sazka. Sazka’s interest, however, waned following its recent deal to acquire Casinos Austria.
Founded in 2004, the Malta-based Tipico offers in-store and online sports bets as well as casino games. The company, which sponsors national football champions Bayern Munich, is considered as Germany’s largest private sports betting company with an estimated €500 million in net revenue or about €2.5 billion in annual processed bets, representing nearly half of the domestic market.
Industry experts, however, believe that Germany’s “fuzzy” gambling laws could scare away potential Tipico buyers. Germany, due to persistent European Union censure, has been trying to deregulate its state betting monopoly and open it up for private operators, to no avail. So far, only the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has awarded a number of private online gambling licenses, which allow operators such as Tipico to operate alongside state-owned Oddset.