Flutter completes purchase of Italy’s largest online betting group – The Irish Times

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Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment has completed the purchase of Italian online betting group Sisal from private equity firm CVC for €1.9 billion.

Announced last December, the deal for the Milan-based company has now received “all necessary regulatory confirmations,” Flutter said in a statement on Friday.

The betting giant said the debt-financed acquisition is “aligned with the group’s investment strategy to build leading positions in regulated markets”.

Italy is the second largest regulated gambling market in Europe behind the UK.

Combined with its PokerStars and Betfair, both popular in Italy, the purchase of Sisal gives Flutter a market share of around 20% of the Italian market.

Sisal has “performed strongly since the announcement of the transaction,” Flutter said, with revenue growing 58% year-on-year to £402 million (€477.7 million) during of the first half of the year.

Earlier this month, rating agency Fitch downgraded its outlook for Flutter from “stable” to “negative”, largely due to concerns over the Sisal acquisition.

Fitch analysts said the large debt-financed acquisition would “significantly slow deleveraging,” increase Flutter’s debt load and negatively impact its long-term issuer default rating.

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Robert M. Brown