Apollo injects € 500 million into SAZKA and buys a Canadian casino giant

By Ucatchers

Czech lottery operator SAZKA Group’s offer to take over the UK National Lottery from former operator Camelot has just garnered significant backing from Wall Street’s buyout fund, Apollo Global Management, which injected € 500 million to finance its efforts to fund expansion.

News also emerged that Apollo will acquire Great Canadian Gaming Corp. in a deal that values ​​the Canadian casino operator at more than C $ 3.3 billion (approximately $ 2.5 billion) and represents the private equity giant’s latest major move into the gaming industry. casinos.

SAZKA, owned by Czech billionaire Karel Komárek, announced in early October a surprise challenge to Camelot’s long reign as operator of the UK’s National Lottery. Camelot’s license will expire in 2023 and the bidding war for the right to operate the draw finally began in late August after delays.

The Czech lottery operator has submitted its application to participate in the first stage of the race for the National Lottery license. SAZKA appointed Sir Keith Mills, who led the London 2012 Olympics campaign and served as vice chairman of the London Organizing Committee, as chairman of the National Lottery bidding late last month.

The SAZKA owner said Tuesday that with the support of € 500 million from Apollo, his team will be able to take the business to the next level. The recent injection will be used to finance the SAZKA’s expansion efforts in Europe and North America, “With a focus on lotteries.”

Bet big on Canada’s casino industry

It also emerged Tuesday night that Apollo would buy Great Canadian Gaming Corp. in a $ 2.5 billion deal It marks the latest change for the North American land based casino industry.

Great Canadian Gaming said its board of directors unanimously approved the deal whereby Apollo will pay Cdn $ 39 per share for the Toronto-listed company.

Great Canadian Gaming was founded in 1982. It has 25 casinos and hotels in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario. It has also been significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, as it had to temporarily close all its properties in March.

Company CEO Rod Baker said Tuesday that they believe “Apollo’s extensive experience in the gaming industry will provide additional strategic benefits to help expand our gaming and hospitality offerings and secure our position as a market leader through long term.”

Alex van Hoek, partner at Apollo, said the investment firm recognizes the challenges facing the casino industry and is “committed to working with the management team of [Great Canadian Gaming’s],

regulators and health authorities to allow the company reopen your properties as soon as it is safe do what.”

Apollo has a history of investing in the gaming industry. In particular, the company partnered with TPG for the Leveraged purchase of Caesars Entertainment Corp. in 2008 which ultimately led to the casino giant in a long and complex bankruptcy case.

In September, Apollo approached William Hill with a informal full takeover offer. The British sportsbook eventually accepted a rival offer from Caesars. According to recent reports, Apollo is now considering William Hill’s operations outside of the United States, including its UK retail gambling network and European digital gambling business.

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