The proposed acquisition of Great Canadian online gambling by Wall Street’s buyout fund Apollo Global Management received court approval, the Canadian casino operator said Thursday.
The British Columbia Supreme Court blessed the deal after large Canadian shareholders voted in its favor last week.
New York-based Apollo first approached Great Canadian in August, informing them that he was considering an offer. between C $ 38 and C $ 41 per share. The private equity firm submitted a formal offer of Cdn $ 39 per share to the casino operator in early November.
Apollo’s original offer faced strong protests from some of Great Canadian’s largest shareholders who complained that at C $ 3.3 billion (approximately $ 2.5 billion), seriously undervalued the casino operatorparticularly considering the fact that it controls the gambling venues in the greater Toronto area.
Apollo eventually improved his offer by almost 16% to C $ 45 per share. The revised offering reflected the casino company’s share price in February before the coronavirus pandemic struck and forced it to close its properties in Canada and keep them closed for several months.
At a meeting on December 23, about 79% of Great Canadian shareholders voted in favor of the revised offer.
After approving the shareholders’ vote and obtaining the approval of the Supreme Court, the deal now needs regulatory approval to close.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter
Apollo is on track to close the deal in the second quarter of the year. When this happens, Great Canadian will be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange. Apollo said that its acquisition of the casino operator will help it grow its business as it will have more long-term financial flexibility as a private company.
Great Canadian was founded in 1982. The company operates 26 casinos and hospitality facilities in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario. After the latest wave of Covid-19 restrictions in Ontario, the company currently only has two open properties – New Brunswick Casino, which operates at 25% of its capacity, and Casino Nova Scotia Sydney, which operates at 20% of its capacity.
Canadian casino operator Apollo has chosen to invest after a long history of involvement in the global online gambling industry. Over the past few months, the private equity fund has been making headlines at games quite frequently announcing investments of various proportions.
In November, the company injected € 500 million to the Czech lottery operator SAZKA Group to fund his effort to take over the UK National Lottery from his former operator Camelot.
Apollo-backed online gambling operator, Gamenet, announced in December that it would acquire IGT’s Italian B2C business in a € 950 million cash deal.
Apollo was also one of the participants in a Bidding War by William Hill, but that war ended relatively quickly when the British sportsbook accepted an offer from Caesars Entertainment, Inc.The casino operator plans to sell William Hill’s operations outside of the United States after the acquisition was closed later this year and Apollo has expressed interest in acquiring them.