CIRSA gains competition clearance on Sportium takeover

Spain’s Competition & Markets Authority (CNMC) will allow Grupo CIRSA to acquire bookmaker Sportium outright, permitting the Blackstone owned operator the right to purchase Ladbrokes 50% joint-venture shareholding.

The CNMC had been forced to review CIRSA’s pending €70 million acquisition of Ladbrokes JV stake in Sportium, which would see CIRSA control Spain’s biggest wagering network made-up of 3,000 retail betting points.

In its review of the transaction, the CNMC states that CIRSA has cleared concerns established by Spanish laws and EC business standards with regards to ‘scope for competition’, ‘market pricings’ and further ‘potential competitor restrictions’ or ‘consumer infringements’.

Following its market analyses, the CNMC will allow CIRSA to purchase Ladbrokes 50% stake in Sportium, a Spanish sportsbook joint-venture enterprise which was first established in 2007.

Choosing to avoid a legal battle, this summer Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings confirmed that it would offload the bookmaker’s equity in Sportium agreeing to a €70 million cash settlement.

Prior to the arrangement, CIRSA governance had filed a Madrid lawsuit against GVC demanding that the FTSE gambling group be forced to sell Ladbrokes stake in Sportium, as its JV arrangement had been drastically altered by GVC £4 billion takeover of Ladbrokes Coral Plc.

Reaching a settlement, CIRSA will continue to utilise GVC wagering provisions as the lead technology partner of Sportium, the brand which US private equity group Blackstone seeks to establish as CIRSA’s lead sports betting domain within emerging South American markets.

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