Allwyn raises €1.6bn amid Camelot acquisition talks

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
Multi-national lottery operator Allwyn Group has announced that it has entered into a new €1.6bn (£1.39bn/$1.66bn) senior facilities loan agreement with a syndicate of international banks.
Allwyn

Lenders have committed to providing the financing to Allwyn through several different categories of loans. €441m of the total will take the form of amortising term loans due in 2027. Meanwhile, a further €441m will be bullet term loans, a form of debt where the vast majority of payments are made towards the end of the agreement’s maturity, due in 2028.

Meanwhile, €300m will be in a revolving credit facility due in 2027 and £380m (€436.8m) in a multipurpose facility available to be drawn as guarantees or term loans maturing in 2027.

The operator formerly known as Sazka said that it intends to use the proceeds of the funding for three principal purposes.

It will use the money to refinance existing debt, which includes a previous €623m syndicated loan, a £380m bank guarantee facility, and €300m of other debts. The operator also intends to use the loan to provide financing for the up-front costs associated with the start of UK’s fourth National Lottery licence, as well as to fund general corporate costs such as payments to shareholders and funding potential acquisitions.

Allwyn-Camelot acquisition talks

While the company did not elaborate on any potential targets for this acquisition financing, in October, Allwyn confirmed it was in “advanced talks” to purchase Camelot UK, the previous holder of the UK National Lottery licence.

“I am very pleased by the level of interest that the transaction received despite the challenging capital market environment – all our existing banks have increased their commitments and we are happy to welcome several new lenders into our banking group,” said Allwyn CFO Kenneth Morton.

“This financing significantly extends our maturity profile, provides us with a flexible financing solution for the up-front costs of the UK National Lottery licence and generates additional liquidity to support our further growth and resilience.

“Following our successful issuance of €600m of bonds earlier in the year, this transaction is a further testament to the strength of the Allwyn credit – as demonstrated by our continued strong financial performance – and the consistent delivery on our organic and inorganic growth strategies.”

Fourth UK National Lottery licence

Allwyn was officially awarded the fourth UK National Lottery licence in September, ending Camelot’s 28-year tenure of operator. The operator had run the lottery since its inception in 1994.

The news comes after the Gambling Commission announced in March that Allwyn was its preferred applicant for the licence, ahead of Camelot, the New Lottery Company and Sisal. The official awarding, though, had been delayed after Camelot initially put up a legal challenge against the decision, which it later dropped.