SAZKA Group has approved a €500 million ($590 million) investment from New York private equity company Apollo Global Management to advance its European and North American growth options.
The transaction was authorised by SAZKA holding company KKCG AG, the investment fund of Czech billionaire Karel Komárek, the controlling shareholder and Chairman of the SAZKA Group.
Apollo’s €500 million fund will be maintained through the newly created subsidiary SAZKA Entertainment AG, for which the “majority of Apollo funds will be used to capitalise on acquisition and growth opportunities in Europe and North America, with a focus on lotteries”.
Issuing a statement, Komárek and KKCG endorsed the deal as an investment to lead SAZKA into a new age of global gaming, in which the Czech conglomerate had obtained a range of offers to finance its global expansion plan.
Komárek said: “I believe the interest in SAZKA Group from one of the world’s leading investors in gaming and largest alternative investment managers and globally confirms the value and strategy of SAZKA Group and is an endorsement of the excellent work of the entire SAZKA Group management team.
“SAZKA Group is well-positioned to expand in Europe, the US and other potential regions, continuing to focus on lottery and complementary gaming verticals.
“I am convinced that the gaming industry is one of the most promising sectors for the future and SAZKA Group aspires to be a global player in this sphere. I have absolute confidence that with support from Apollo my team will take the business to the next level.”
In 2019, Komárek took over the majority ownership of SAZKA, with its KKCG fund gaining complete control of the gambling portfolio of the company, separated from the former investment partner EMMA Capital.
The reformed SAZKA has also increased its European gambling portfolio by securing majority investment in OPAP Greece (40 percent) and Casino Austria (+50 percent).
Last month, SAZKA announced that it had completed its registration to compete in the fourth National Lottery Competition of the UK Government, aiming to replace the incumbent Camelot Group as an operating company of the UK National Lottery in 2023.
James Kim, Apollo Partner and European Co-Head of Hybrid Value said: “We are very excited to invest in SAZKA Group, one of Europe’s leading private lottery operators.
“SAZKA has a very successful track record of organic and inorganic growth and we believe this investment, coupled with our sector expertise and relationships, will help the management team achieve their strategic growth plans in Europe and around the globe.”
We are pleased to announce a strategic investment by Apollo Funds to support our global expansion in the lottery and gaming sectors. Apollo is one of the world’s largest alternative investment managers and leading investors in gaming globally. https://t.co/IzEnbmQXi9
— SAZKA Group (@SazkaG) November 10, 2020