Blackstone eyes tricky Codere Spain buyout

Spanish business news source OK Diario has reported that US multi-national private equity firm Blackstone is preparing a bid for Grupo Codere, Spain’s largest gambling operator.

The private equity firm, seeks to create the world’s leading Spanish-language gambling/betting group, merging its recently acquired Grupo CIRSA asset with Codere’s enterprise.

In its report, OK Diario details that Blackstone executives have turned their attention to acquiring Codere, following the PE firm’s failure to secure a buyout of Luckia Egasa, Spain’s third largest retail bookmaker.

Last April, Blackstone which holds multiple investments within the European gambling sector, made its entry into the Spanish market, acquiring legacy operator CIRSA  for a reported €2 billion valuation.

Spanish analysts believe that it may be the optimal time for Blackstone to make its move on Codere, as the company has recently restructured its debt-capacity, operations and governance make-up reducing the influence of the enterprise founding Martinez Sampedro family.

Entering 2018, Codere’s new Chief Executive Vicente di Loreto quashed rumours, that his firm would look to merge with CIRSA, stating that M&A formed no part of Codere’s ongoing recovery.

Merging Codere and CIRSA assets, Blackstone will create the outright gambling leader in Spain and multiple LATAM territories (Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Dominica and Costa Rica).

However, whilst the proposition will likely gain the support of shareholders. Spanish insiders believe that Blackstone’s merger will face several regulatory hurdles, having to convince Spain’s competition authority and South American labour courts of the deal’s all-around viability.

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