Gaming technology provider Novomatic AG has announced a “long-term strategic partnership” with Sazka Group a.s., for the Austrian gaming market.
Novomatic and Sazka Group, both privately-held firms, will pool their respective – already acquired or to be acquired – shares in Casinos Austria AG and Austrian Lotteries. Novomatic and Sazka will then create a joint-venture company.
“Subject to approvals from anti-trust and supervisory authorities being given, the two companies intend to establish a joint-venture company, where their shares in Casinos Austria will be joined together, to establish an evenly levelled partnership and pool the existing know-how in the best possible way for the future development of Casinos Austria,” Novomatic stated in a Friday release.
The deal also aims to solve existing legal disputes related to the shareholding structure of partially state-owned Casinos Austria, the announcement added.
The partnership was made public three days after Ainsworth Game Technology Ltd announced that its executive chairman, Len Ainsworth, had agreed to sell his 53-percent stake in the company to Novomatic for a total cash consideration of about AUD473.3 million (US$337.3 million). The deal is still subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.
Sazka Group is poised to own all gaming assets controlled by investment firms KKCG and Emma Capital, according to Novomatic’s release. KKCG and Emma Capital are the largest shareholders in Greek gaming firm OPAP S.A., via an investment fund.
The Novomatic release did not mention the size of Novomatic’s and Sazka’s respective shareholdings in Casinos Austria. According to previous media reports, KKCG and Emma Capital in September 2015 jointly acquired an 11.34 percent stake in Casinos Austria.
In July last year Novomatic made binding offers for two equity stakes in Casinos Austria.
KKCG is an international investment group managing approximately EUR1.6-billion (US$1.7-billion) of assets, according to its website. The group is focused on long-term strategic investments in lottery and entertainment, among other industries.
Emma Capital is an investment group founded by Czech investor Jiří Šmejc. It concentrates its activities primarily in the retail sector.
This is “the first essential step towards providing a clear shareholding structure to Casinos Austria and making the company fit in the long term for the future challenges of the domestic and global markets,” Novomatic’s chief executive Harald Neumann said in a statement.
Casinos Austria owns 12 casinos in Austria as well as lottery business Austrian Lotteries. It controls Casinos Austria International Ltd, with investments in several casinos and other gaming-related businesses internationally.
Austria-based Novomatic is both a gaming manufacturer and operator. The company operates more than 235,000 gaming devices and video lottery terminals in more than 1,600 outlets including gaming parlours and casinos, according to its corporate website.
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