SAZKA Completes Stake In Casinos Austria

Pan-European lottery and sports betting company Sazka Group has completed its purchase of a 17.19 percent stake previously owned by Novomatic Group in Casinos Austria.

The deal, first announced on 10 December 2019, put to an end three years of the companies running Casinos Austria through “a partnership of equals.”

This means that Sazka is growing its interest in the firm to 55.48 percent.

Sazka chief executive Robert Chvatal said: “Together with our fellow shareholders, we are looking forward to increasing the value of Casinos Austria – a treasured national brand – for the benefit of customers, employees, and most importantly of all, Austrian society.”

When the deal was announced, Sazka and Novomatic agreed that the joint ownership had not resulted in substantial growth for the company, and that a single leading shareholder would be better served. It agreed to sell this to Sazka, as Novomatic had a smaller stake.

Following this was an agreement between Sazka and Österreichische Beteiligungs AG (ÖBAG), the agency responsible for overseeing the investment activities of the Austrian state, to jointly operate Casinos Austria in March of this year.

ÖBAG, which owns a 33.20 percent interest in the company, had been under pressure from the Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) to exercise its right of first preference over Novomatic ‘s share, rather than allowing it to be bought by a foreign corporation. Instead, those rights were revoked by ÖBAG.

Sazka has joined and drawn €105 m in stable funding through its CAME Holding subsidiary in conjunction with this deal.