A rumor began circulating recently that Intralot, a gaming operator out of Greece, was discussing a possible merger with Greek IT and telecom holding company Intracom. It appears that whoever started the rumor has too much free time on his hands and needs a new hobby, as both companies have publicly—and independently—come forward to deny the rumors.
According to Greek media outlet Kathimerini, both companies released separate statements last week that asserted that the rumors do not “correspond to reality.” They added that they have always—and will always—immediately disclose information about events or situations that could impact their respective company’s shares, given that both are publicly traded entities.
The rumor began after it was revealed that Intralot had lost a gaming concession in Turkey to Scientific Games and the merger would have reportedly helped it reestablish its market position. The company has seen its bond’s nominal value slide this year, as well as its credit rating.
Both Intralot and Intracom were founded by Sokratis Kokkalis, a Greek businessman who is still the majority shareholder of both entities. He became the CEO of Intralot in early March when he replaced Antonios Kerastaris, who was relieved of his duties for not doing a better job at retaining the Turkish concession to offer sports betting technology to state-owned Iddaa.
The ouster of Kerastaris is most likely just the beginning. Analysts expect more corporate restructuring as the company seeks to get back on course and Kokkalis is most likely looking to shake things up at the company.
Intralot, through a partnership with Turkish telecom giant Turkcell, was behind Iddaa’s sports gambling operations since 2004. This past November, Intralot announced its pending 15th anniversary in the country and said that it would be looking to expand its local unit, Inteltek, to include a technology hub.
The loss of the Turkish concession is a huge deal for Intranet. That venture accounted for almost 40% of the company’s corporate revenues. Fortunately, Intranet isn’t totally done in Turkey, as it still operates an online sports gambling venture through its Bilyoner brand. It controls 50.01% of that enterprise.