CVC Capital Partners acquire Italian betting operator Sisal Group for €1b

cvc-sisal-acquisitionPrivate equity firm CVC Capital Partners has further expanded its gambling portfolio by acquiring Italian betting operator Sisal Group.

On Monday, CVC announced that it had reached a deal to acquire Sisal from its current trio of private equity owners Apax Partners, Permira and Clessidra. The companies expect the transaction to be complete by the end of Q3 2016.

The deal, which includes CVC assuming Sisal’s €966m debt, values the Italian firm at around €1b. In 2015, Sisal reported a net loss of €40m on earnings of €182m and revenue of €787m, of which more than one-fifth came via Sisal’s payment services division SisalPay.

Formed in 1946, Sisal was the first company licensed by the Italian state to conduct legal gaming operations. Its business has since grown to encompass a retail network of around 45k outlets offering everything from lottery products, the Sisal Matchpoint sports and race betting brand, video lottery terminals and amusement with prizes (AWP) machines.

As Italy’s second-largest gaming firm, Sisal also operates a full-spectrum online gambling operation via its platform, which ranks in the top-five on the country’s list of licensed online operators. Sisal’s total workforce is estimated at around 2k employees.

The deal is the third major online gambling deal CVC has inked in the past 18 months following the hedge fund’s failure to acquire online betting exchange Betfair in 2013. In December 2014, CVC paid £720m to acquire a controlling stake in Sky Betting & Gaming. More recently, CVC dropped over €1b for a majority stake in German betting operator Tipico.

CVC’s Italian representative Giampiero Mazza said his firm was right chuffed to have sealed the Sisal deal, saying the “well-diversified” company was “ideally positioned” for further growth.

Sisal CEO Emilio Petrone said the addition of CVC’s financial muscle represented “a formidable team” that will become “more strong and competitive” in Italy’s regulated market.