Basque Kirol denies Blackstone takeover rumours

Basque Country operator Grupo Kirol operating firm of Kirolbet has moved to deny rumours that it will sell its flagship business to US private equity fund Blackstone Group.

Yesterday afternoon, Spanish business news source El Confidencial reported that Blackstone had sanctioned a €100 million bid to acquire Kirolbet’s entire Basque Country gambling operations.

The deal would see Blackstone expand its Spanish gambling portfolio, acquiring the Euskadi region’s biggest retail betting firm, which operates a network of ‘4,000 betting points across the Basque Country’.

In its report, El Confidencial noted Blackstone’s desire to acquire one-of-three Euskadi sanctioned betting licenses.

As a fully autonomous province, the Basque Country retains the right to establish independent business laws and taxes, which has seen the Euskadi government grant only three gambling licenses to Grupo Kirol, Codere SA and RETAbet.

Replicating its investment strategy, Blackstone would likely move to absorb Kirolbet assets under its CIRSA domain, the PE fund’s €2 billion Spanish market investment, which seeks to be transformed into ‘the global leading Spanish language gambling operator’.

Yesterday afternoon, Grupo Kirol governance published a corporate statement detailing that the ‘firm had no plans to sell any of its assets’ to Blackstone or any further investment group.

Updating the market, Kirol governance stated that the group was committed to completing its 2019-2022 corporate strategy, strengthening its Basque country position whilst launching new international properties.

European business analysts will continue to monitor Blackstone movements closely, as during H2 trading the US fund was reported to be eyeing a potential IPO for its CIRSA asset.

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