Kirol Group denies Blackstone takeover talk

25 June 2019

Kirol Group, a leading operator in the Spanish market, has denied reports it is about to be acquired by US private equity fund Blackstone Group in a €100m deal.

The company behind Kirolbet, which operates in a number of Spanish regions, has refuted claims originally reported in Spanish business news source El Confidencial.

The news site claimed that Blackstone aimed to acquire Kirol for to gain a presence in the lucrative Basque region, with Cirsa - which it bought for an estimated €2bn last year – having missed out on a licence there.

Kirol Group issued a statement saying it is looking at growing its business rather than selling.

“Kirol Group denies its Kirolbet operation will be sold to the Blackstone fund,” Kirol Group said in a statement. “The Eibar-based group, in its 11 years leading the market through its technology solution Kirolsoft, has always been targeted by large companies and investment funds, but never has a sale materialised.

“After 2019-2022 strategic plan was approved, expansion in international markets and the constant technological innovation for products and services, are the great challenges to which the Kirol Group is allocating 100% of its energy.”

Kirolbet, which is based in Eibar, operates a network of 4,000 terminals and an online offering, and employs 300 staff.

It began operating in the Basque Autonomous Community in 2008 and has since expanded to a number of other jurisdictions.

Blackstone was linked with a move for another Spanish gambling group, Codere, last year. Recently it made a £175m (€202.7m/$227.5m) strategic minority investment in Romanian omni-channel sports betting and gaming operator Superbet.

Blackstone acquired Clarion Events, the parent company of iGaming Business, in 2017.