Cirsa wins Spanish approval for Sportium acquisition

7 October 2019

Gambling operator Cirsa has secured approval from the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC), Spain’s competitions and markets authority, to finalise the acquisition of GVC Holdings’ stake in its Sportium joint venture.

In July of this year, Cirsa brokered a deal to purchase GVC’s 50% stake for €70m (£62.5m/$77.0m) and assume control of Sportium, which it had been running in partnership with Ladbrokes.

The deal was subject to approval from CNMC and the regulatory body has now given the Cirsa to proceed with the transaction.

The sale confirms GVC’s exit from the Spanish retail betting market, although it will retain links with Sportium by serving as a B2B supplier to the business after the transaction. It is also active in Spain's igaming market via its bwin brand.

Sportium, which mainly focuses on the Spanish retail betting market, contributed £2.5m to GVC’s proforma operating profit for the 12 months to December 31, 2018. GVC obtained the interest in Sportium when it acquired Ladbrokes Coral in March 2018.

Cirsa agreed the acquisition deal just weeks after reporting a net loss of €5.6m in the first quarter of 2019, despite Spanish operations and Latin American casinos helping drive revenue up.

Operating revenue amounted to €443.0m, up from €417.2m in the same period last year, while net operating revenue, after rent increases on properties was up 8.5% from €349.3m to €379m.

However, earnings before interest and tax slipped from €41.4m to €38.2m, while profit before income tax slumped from €22.9m to €4.9m. Income tax was lower at €6.2m, but profit after tax from continuing operations fell to a loss of €1.3m.