US private equity fund Blackstone Group LLP continues to expand its European gambling investment portfolio, confirming that it has invested €175 million in Romania and CIS market bookmaker SuperBet.
The transactions sees the US PE firm secure a minority stake in SuperBet, Romania’s largest sports betting operator, through its strategic vehicle ‘Blackstone Tactical Opportunities’.
Founded in 2008 by industry investor Sacha Dragic, SuperBet currently operates a network of +1,200 Romanian betting points, with the company generating a betting turnover of €180 million during 2018 trading.
In previous corporate updates, Sacha Dragic has underlined that SuperBet will expand its services ‘beyond Romania’, with the betting group launching a 50 betting point retail network on Poland.
Dragic commented on the update – “We are anxious to start this strategic partnership with Blackstone. Capital infusion from the US fund backed by rich experience makes Blackstone a partner capable of supporting Superbet Group to maintain its market leadership in Romania, to continue to increase its market share and, above all, to be able to capitalize on opportunities to expand business in both Central and Eastern Europe and globally”.
In recent years, Blackstone has been the most active private equity investor within the European gambling space, with the US fund undertaking long-term investments in Paysafe Group (£3bn), Clarion Events (£600m) and Grupo CIRSA (€2bn).
Furthermore, in 2014 the PE firm acted as the principal backer of Amaya Inc’s $5 billion takeover of The Rational Group, the former operating company of PokerStars.
The transaction would be labelled as a ‘landmark event’ by industry commentators, and a trigger to online gambling’s aggressive M&A scene.
“We are delighted to be able to start working with Sacha Dragic and the excellent management team he has created at Superbet. It is impressive that the Romanian company has invested in multi-channel and digital operations, including the launch of its own online gaming and betting platform, all made to the international standards of the industry. We are anxious to support the upward trend of Superbet, whose growth model is based on international expansion and on continued technology investments,” said Andrea Valeri, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone.