Apollo-Backed Gamenet Scoops IGT’s Italian Gambling Business in €950 Million Deal

Apollo Global Management-backed gambling company Gamenet is set to acquire IGT’s Italian B2C business for €950 million (approx. $1.2 billion) in cash.

This is the latest of a slew of gaming deals Apollo has pursued over the past several months. At one point, the US private equity firm was in the running for British bookmaker William Hill but its bid lost to a rival offer from casino giant Caesars Entertainment.

The deal for IGT’s Italian gaming arm includes the US-listed company’s B2C gaming machine, sports betting, and digital gambling operations. IGT said it would retain some operations in Italy, including a locally popular lotto game.

Gamenet’s acquisition of the assets values IGT’s Lottomatica Videoslot Rete and Lottomatica Scommesse at around €1.1 billion, including debt. The two businesses generated around €207 million in aggregated adjusted EBITDA last year. IGT said that the units would be sold to at “an attractive multiple.”

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2021. IGT said that it would use net proceeds from the sale to reduce debt.

IGT CEO Marco Sala said of the deal that “the rebalancing of our business and geographic mix reframes and simplifies our priorities while improving the company’s future profit margin, cash flow generation, and debt profile.”

A Series of Deals

Apollo has been aggressively looking to buy gaming assets in recent months and has been involved in several major deals in the sector.

In September, William Hill, the major British bookmaker, announced that it has been approached by the US private equity firm with an informal takeover offer. Apollo’s bid lost out to a rival one from Caesars Entertainment, but said last month that it was interested in buying William Hill’s non-US business, which the betting giant’s new owner intends to sell.

It was in November again when Apollo backed Czech lottery operator SAZKA Group with a €500 million investment as the company competes for UK’s fourth National Lottery operating tender.

Last month, Apollo also tabled a C$3.3 billion offer for Canadian casino operator Great Canadian Gaming that marked the latest big shift for North America’s land-based casino industry.

The private equity firm announced in the fall 2019 that it would acquire a 48.67% stake in Gamenet and would delist the Italy-facing gambling company from the Milan stock exchange. Under two separate agreements, Apollo bought a 28.67% stake in Gamenet from TCP Lux Eurinvest and a 20% stake from Intralot Italian Investments for a total of €182.5 million. The deal was closed this past February.

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