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Blackstone linked with Codere acquisition

| By iGB Editorial Team
Finance group again looking to expansion in Spanish market

Private equity group Blackstone has been linked with a possible bid to acquire leading Spanish gambling operator Codere.

Blackstone purchased Spain’s Cirsa earlier this year and is reportedly looking to further enhance its presence in the country.

Blackstone is yet to speak publically about the mooted Codere deal and has not yet responded to a request for comment from iGamingBusiness.com.

Spanish business news outlet OK Diaro said Blackstone, which also owns Clarion Events, the parent company of iGamingBusiness, opened talks with Codere after a deal to buy Luckia Egasa fell through.

Codere primarily focuses on the Spanish market, but also has a major presence in the Latin American region.

In February, Codere cited its performance in Latin American countries Argentina and Mexico as among the main reasons behind a year-on-year jump in operating revenue to €1.64bn ($1.92bn) for the 12 months to December 31, 2017.

Codere’s portfolio in Spain includes online gaming, more than 5,000 sports betting shops and 149 gaming halls. Its Codere Apuestas brand is the official sports betting partner of Real Madrid (pictured).

The move comes soon after Blackstone saw off reported competition form Apollo Global Management to seal a deal for Cirsa’s casino, bingo and sports betting operations across Spain, Italy and Latin America. Reports in recent months have also suggested Blackstone had hoped to add Luckia Egasa, one of the leading retail bookmakers in Spain, to its portfolio, but was unable to agree terms on a deal.
Haide Hong, managing director of Blackstone’s private equity group in London, recently spoke about the appeal of companies that operate in gaming markets that offer a “degree of regulatory certainty”.

Hong, speaking at iGB Live! in Amsterdam, acknowledged this month that a market’s regulatory outlook is a “critical component” of identifying potential M&A targets in the sector.

In addition to its ongoing expansion strategy in Spain, Blackstone has interests elsewhere in the industry.

Last year, Blackstone was part of a consortium that took ownership of Paysafe Group. CVC Capital Partners also featured in the takeover group.

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