,Fast growing Czech lottery company SAZKA Group has added another acquisition to its growing influence in European regulated gambling markets.
On Tuesday it was announced that Sazka had reached an agreement with Novomatic AG to buy Novomatic’s 17% share of Casinos Austria. The deal was confirmed in a brief statement to investors by Novomatic, although it has yet to be given regulatory approval.
But if it goes through, the deal will mean that SAZKA will boost its share ownership in Casinos Austria from 37% to 55% which will give it majority rights over the land-based operator. Novomatic have also confirmed that they will continue to hold an 11% stake in Casinos Austria subsidiary Österreichische Lotterien, which will mean it retains a place on that company’s board.
Speaking about the deal, the CEO at Novomatic, Harald Neumann, said that they were concerned that under the previous structure of share ownership, there has been little development of the Casinos Austria brand. This had led his company to take the decision to offload their shares to enable the firm to restructure, in order to tackle the challenges of the current gambling market.
The purchase continues the trend of the SAZKA Group’s expansion, which has followed the restructure of its ownership earlier this year. Fronted by fresh investment leadership, the firm has raised its stake in the Greek lottery company OPAP to 40% and the company is said to be seeking further opportunities to increase its exposure in the European gambling market.
Robert Chvatal, the SAZKA, CEO said that they were committed to working with the other major shareholders to develop Casinos Austria’s core business:
“We are convinced that this is the best solution for the company. We want to secure CASAG stable positive development in a long-term partnership between its two largest shareholders.”