Online betting group Flutter buys Italian sisal for $ 2.2 billion

DUBLIN, December 23 (Reuters) – Flutter Entertainment, owner of Betfair and Poker Stars, to buy Italian games operator Sisal for 1.62 billion pounds ($ 2.16 billion) in a deal that , he said, would more than double its share of the Italian online gaming market to around 20%.

The Italian company, which also runs retail and online gaming activities in Turkey and Morocco and is in the running to run the UK National Lottery, is currently owned by CVC Capital Partners, who bought it in 2016.

Italy, Europe’s second-largest regulated gaming market, has seen the online share of gaming revenue double to 20% since the start of the pandemic, Flutter said, adding that she expected what a significant proportion of that income stays online.

Combining Sisal with Flutter’s existing Italian online presence through PokerStars and Betfair will result in a combined 20% online share, Flutter said.

“I’m excited to see how Flutter can complement these capabilities with our scale, differentiated products and operational capabilities,” said Peter Jackson, Managing Director of Flutter.

Flutter stock was up 2.8% as of 08:22 GMT.

The debt-funded transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022 and is expected to accretion to adjusted earnings in the first 12 months, Flutter said.

Sisal, which employs 2,500 people, expects to generate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 248 million euros ($ 281 million) in the 12 months to December 2021, of which 58% comes from its offering in line, according to the release.

Prior to Flutter’s announcement, Sisal was planning an initial public offering (IPO) to list its shares on the Milan Stock Exchange.

Flutter acquired Tombola, one of the UK’s leading online bingo operators, last month for £ 402million.

($ 1 = 0.7489 pounds) ($ 1 = 0.8834 euros) (Reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin and Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Edmund Blair and Jane Merriman)

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Robert M. Brown