Sazka lodges €2.06bn bid to assume control of OPAP

9 July 2019

Czech gaming and lottery giant Sazka Group has put forward an offer of €2.06bn (£1.85bn/$2.31bn) to gain full control of Greek gaming operator OPAP.

The tender offer is priced at €9.12 per share, with Sazka seeking to acquire 67% of the shares in OPAP. Sazka already indirectly holds a 33% stake in OPAP via Emma Delta, a business that it is the majority shareholder in with 66.7% of shares.

The offer also includes any new OPAP shares that may be issued as the result of a dividend reinvestment program that was approved at the Greek operator’s 2019 Annual General Meeting in May.

Sazka has said that should the deal go through, the acquisition would represent the largest all-cash voluntary offer in Greece for more than a decade.

In the tender offer, Sazka has set out how it does not intend to change OPAP’s current strategy and said it will continue to focus on maintaining the operator’s presence in the Greek market.

With the offer subject to approval from the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC), neither Sazka nor OPAP have stated when the deal could go through.

“We are confident that thanks to our ongoing support and active engagement in the business we have helped to deliver significant value to all the shareholders of OPAP,” Sazka chairman, Karel Komárek, said.

“Since May 1,2013, the day of the announcement of the privatisation of OPAP, OPAP shareholders have enjoyed a total shareholder return of over 130% including over €1.4 billion of aggregate dividends paid.

“We are now seeking to increase our shareholding in OPAP and want to give existing shareholders an opportunity to realise value accumulated over the years.”

OPAP has also confirmed the offer in a statement: “OPAP announces that it has received the tender offer by Sazka Group. In accordance with the Greek Takeover Law, OPAP shall appoint a financial advisor and the board of directors of OPAP shall evaluate the tender offer and shall issue its opinion following the approval of the information memorandum by the HCMC.”

At the time of writing, OPAP’s shares are trading at €9.66 each, up from an opening price of €9.59.