Bidding War For One Of Italy's Biggest Operators

October 2, 2023
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Flutter Entertainment and Playtech, which trades under the consumer-facing brand Snaitech, have reportedly lodged separate bids to acquire PlanetWin's parent company, SKS365.
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Flutter Entertainment and Playtech, which trades under the consumer-facing brand Snaitech, have reportedly lodged separate bids to acquire PlanetWin's parent company, SKS365.

Italian-listed Lottomatica, which is owned by the Apollo equity fund, is also reported to be interested in SKS365, according to media reports.

Playtech confirmed its interest in a statement on Friday (September 29) saying that "following the recent media speculation … the group is currently participating in a process regarding the potential acquisition of SKS365 Malta Holdings Limited. Playtech is aware that there are other parties who are also participating in the process and who have expressed an interest in acquiring SKS."

Flutter and SKS365 both declined to provide a comment to Vixio GamblingCompliance on the situation.

According to sources quoted by Sky News, the sale, which is being handled by bankers at Lazard, is expected to fetch between £500m and £600m. 

Both Flutter, which owns Paddy Power, Betfair and Italian brand Sisal, and Playtech, which trades under the consumer-facing brand Snaitech, already have existing operations in Italy.

Earlier this week, Flutter also announced the €141m purchase of a controlling stake in MaxBet, a Serbian gaming group, with the FTSE 100 company also in the process of shifting its primary listing to New York. 

Following the news, shares in Playtech edged down 2p, or 0.4 percent, to close at 452p, while Flutter Entertainment fell 165p, or 1.2 percent, to £133.90. 

PlanetWin365 trades online and has a significant retail presence with around 1,000 betting shops and has been gaining a larger market share in Italy in recent years.

According to figures from the Italian gambling regulator ADM, in the first eight months of the year, Planetwin365 had a 9 percent share in the betting segment (€152m in gross gaming revenue (GGR)), 8.5 percent share in virtual games (€30m in GGR), and 6.5 percent in casino games (€100m in GGR). Its consumer brands include PlanetSpin, which operates gaming machines, and the payment company PlanetPay. 

Italy has been seen by many as a key growth marketplace for some of the biggest international gambling companies, which have established their presence in the country via mergers and acquisitions over the past few years. 

In 2018, Playtech acquired Italian online gambling group Snaitech, while in 2022 Flutter finalised its €1.9bn acquisition of Sisal, the operator of Italy’s SuperEnalotto lottery and TotoCalcio football pools.

Change is coming to the Italian market, as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's government has initiated an overhaul of laws governing the gambling sector to settle long-running disputes on licensing, taxation and requirements to operate land-based venues.

The first steps in the upcoming months will be the tenders for the online concessions, with a fee currently estimated at €6m to €8m each, and the Italian Lotto licence for at least €800m. The government will also work with regional authorities to reform the retail rules.

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