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race is on Paddy Power owner buys Italian gaming operator Sisal for €1.9bn

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Flutter Entertainment CEO Peter Jackson

Flutter Entertainment CEO Peter Jackson

Flutter Entertainment CEO Peter Jackson

Flutter Entertainment has purchased Sisal, an Italian online gaming operator, for €1.9bn.

In a statement, the Paddy Power owner said the acquisition “fully aligns with the group's strategy of investing to build leadership positions in regulated markets globally.”

Sisal is a betting, gaming and lottery operator headquartered in Milan.

In the 12 months to December 2021, Sisal expects to generate earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €248m, with 58pc coming from its online offering and the remainder from a combination of retail and lottery operations.

Approximately 90pc of Sisal's EBITDA this year is generated in Italy, with the balance coming from regulated lottery operations in Turkey and Morocco.

Flutter said the addition of Sisal, which employs around 2,500 people, delivers “several” key strategic outcomes including providing it with a “gold medal position” in Italy by bringing a leading online brand into the Flutter portfolio.

Flutter added that the acquisition increases the group's exposure to an attractive, fast-growing, regulated online market.

In addition, it increases Flutter's recreational customer base with the addition of 300,000 “highly engaged” online average monthly players and over 9.5 million retail customers.

Peter Jackson, Flutter CEO, said: “For some time we have wanted to pursue this market opportunity via an omni-channel strategy and this acquisition will ideally position us to do so.”

“Sisal has grown its online presence significantly in recent years, aided by its proprietary platform and commitment to innovation.”

The deal for Sisal is payable in cash and in full on completion of the transaction. This amount includes full repayment of all Sisal's debt upon completion, Flutter said.

The transaction will be financed by way of additional Flutter debt facilities, agreed with Barclays Bank.

The deal, which is expected to conclude in the first half of next year, is conditional on “merger control clearance and customary gaming and foreign investment consents.”

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