Online betting group Flutter to buy Italy’s Sisal for $2.2 billion

DUBLIN -Betfair and Poker Stars owner Flutter Entertainment is to buy Italian gaming operator Sisal for 1.62 billion pounds ($2.16 billion) in a deal it says would make more than double its share of the Italian online gaming market to around 20%.

The Italian company, which also runs retail and online gaming operations in Turkey and Morocco and is in the running to run Britain’s national lottery, is currently owned by HVAC Capital Partners, which bought it in 2016.

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

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

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

Flutter shares rose 2.8% to 0822 GMT.

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

Sisal, which employs 2,500 people, expects to generate earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of €248 million ($281 million) in the 12 months to December 2021, with 58% coming from its online offering. online, according to the statement.

Prior to Flutter’s announcement, Sisal had planned an initial public offering (Initial Public Offering) to list its shares on the Milan Stock Exchange.

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

($1 = 0.7489 pounds)

($1 = 0.8834 euros)

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Robert M. Brown