Gaming giant in £1.6bn acquisition

Flutter Entertainment – which owns Leeds-based Sky Betting and Gaming – is acquiring Italy’s leading online gaming operator, Sisal for £1.62bn.

The deal will see the group purchase the business which employ 2,500 people from CVC Capital Partners Fund VI and is likely to complete during Q2 of 2022. It is the second acquisition for the business in the space of two months, with it set to acquire Tombola in a deal worth £402m which is set to complete in the first quarter of the new year.

Sisal is a leading betting, gaming and lottery operator headquartered in Milan, which is expected to generate an EBITDA of £211m for the 12 months to December 2021 with almost two thirds of this coming from online activity.

The business generates 90% of its earning from Italy but also has regulated lottery operations in Turkey and Morocco.

As a result of the deal Flutter has “a gold medal position in Italy” within the gaming sector by bringing in Sisal alongside the group’s existing Italian operations with PokerStars and Betfair.

Peter Jackson, Flutter chief executive, said: “I am delighted to add Sisal, Italy’s leading gaming brand, to the Group as we look to attain a gold medal position in the Italian market. For some time we have wanted to pursue this market opportunity via an omnichannel strategy and this acquisition will ideally position us to do so.

“Sisal has grown its online presence significantly in recent years, aided by its proprietary platform and commitment to innovation. I’m excited to see how Flutter can complement these capabilities through our scale, differentiated products and operational capabilities. We look forward to welcoming Francesco and the rest of the Sisal team to Flutter in 2022.”

Francesco Durante, Sisal chief executive, added: “Over the last five years, thanks to CVC’s support, we have successfully transformed Sisal into a leading digital and international gaming company. Through our commitment to digital innovation, international expansion and safer gambling, we have achieved a leadership position in Italy’s online gaming market and developed our global footprint by winning lottery tenders in Morocco and Turkey. We are delighted to join Flutter and are convinced that through its scale and operational capabilities, we will be able to further strengthen our leadership in the markets we operate in. I look forward to working with Peter and the team on the next chapter of Sisal history.”

Giampiero Mazza, managing partner at CVC Italy commented: “We are very proud of the success achieved by Sisal and its transformation since our acquisition in 2016. We want to thank Francesco and the whole management team for their incredible dedication, focus and ambition, and for leading this successful journey in spite of regulatory challenges and the pandemic. Flutter is a fantastic new partner for Sisal and we wish them the very best.”

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