Sazka still targeting majority stake in OPAP after end of offer period

31 October 2019

Lottery group Sazka Group has upped its stake in OPAP to almost 40% after the completion of an offer period during which it attempted to acquire all the Greek operator’s outstanding shares.

Czech Republic-headquartered Sazka came to an agreement with around 7.25% of OPAP shareholders during the offer period, which concluded on 29 October. It owned around 33% of OPAP prior to the offer period having purchased a major stake in 2013 through venture Emma Delta when the operator was first privatised.

In total it has agreed to acquire 23,323,179 shares at €9.12 – amounting to €212.7m. It had earmarked €2.06bn for the total outstanding shares.

Once the share transfers are completed, it will hold, directly or indirectly, 128,593,179 shares in total. When shares bought back by the company (treasury shares) are included, this amounts to 39.98% of OPAP's share capital and voting rights.

OPAP’s shares are today trading at €9.75 and were around €9.60 when the offer was announced in July.

Karel Komarek, chairman of Sazka, said the group hopes to eventually become majority shareholder of OPAP.

“We are pleased to have been able to substantially increase our shareholding in OPAP through the tender offer,” he said.

“Our ultimate goal is to over time acquire a majority ownership stake in OPAP. We look forward to being co-investors with those shareholders who did not tender their shares and we are pleased that they have chosen to stay with us as we work to ensure that OPAP continues to deliver on its exciting strategy.”

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

Sazka, which has betting and lottery operations in the Czech Republic, Austria, Cyprus, Italy and Greece, said it will commence the purchase of the shares on 5 November.

Athens-listed OPAP offers sports bets, lotteries and video-lottery terminals in Greece and Cyprus. It reported gross gaming revenue of €1.5bn in 2018.