Private Equity giants monitoring Cirsa Spain movements

Speculation is growing with regards to Spanish gambling firm Grupo Cirsa’s future, as a number of private equity firms are reportedly monitoring the Barcelona-based operator.

This week, Bloomberg News reports that PE firms Blackstone Group and Cerebeus Capital Management, two seasoned investors in global gambling enterprises, are weighing up bids for the Spanish casino and bingo-hall operator.

Furthermore, former Caesar Entertainment bankruptcy debt-holder Apollo Global is closely monitoring Cirsa’s movements, as Spain moves to expand its gambling market in 2018.

Last November, Cirsa majority shareholder Manuel Lao Hernandez detailed that the firm had appointed financial advisor Lazard to review corporate strategic options; assessing whether to merge, sell or float Cirsa.

Spanish business news sources report that Cirsa governance has requested interested parties to submit ‘non-binding bids’ for initial review. Cirsa governance is reported to be targeting a minimum sale of €2 billion for the company.

Entering 2018, speculation had arisen that Cirsa would merge with main market rival Grupo Codere, to form the leading Spanish and Latin America gambling/betting enterprise.

However, the new Codere leadership team of Vicente Di Loreto (Group CEO) and Norman Sorensen (Executive Chairman) quashed the merger rumours, stating that Codere would solely focus on its recovery strategy.

At present, none of the reported private equity firms have confirmed interest in investing in Grupo Cirsa. However, as more operators face the reality of tougher trading conditions in legacy gambling markets such as the UK,  due to increased costs, regulations and higher taxes, Cirsa may become an attractive proposition.