Sazka completes deal for Novomatic’s Casinos Austria stake

26 June 2020

Pan-European lottery and sports betting giant Sazka Group has completed its acquisition of a 17.19% stake in Casinos Austria previously held by Novomatic Group.

First announced on 10 December 2019, the agreement brought an end to three years of the businesses managing Casinos Austria through “a partnership of equals”.

This sees Sazka increase its stake in the business to 55.48%.

“Together with our fellow shareholders, we are looking forward to increasing the value of Casinos Austria – a treasured national brand - for the benefit of customers, employees, and most importantly of all, Austrian society,” Sazka chief executive Robert Chvatal said.

When the deal was announced, Sazka and Novomatic admitted that the joint control had not led to significant growth for the business, and that it would be better served by a single leading shareholder. As Novomatic had a smaller stake, it agreed to sell this to Sazka.

This was followed by an agreement between Sazka and Österreichische Beteiligungs AG (ÖBAG), the body responsible for managing the Austrian state’s investment activities, to jointly manage Casinos Austria in March this year.

ÖBAG, which holds a 33.20% stake in the operator, had come under pressure from the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) to exercise its right of first refusal over Novomatic’s stake, rather than allow it to be acquired by a foreign business. Instead, ÖBAG waived these rights.

In connection with this transaction, Sazka has entered and drawn €105m in secure financing via its CAME Holding subsidiary.