Slovenia’s Ministry of Finance says both bids for the monopoly betting and lottery operator have been withdrawn.
Slovenia.- The Slovenian Ministry of Finance has announced that Entain and SuperBet have withdrawn their bids to buy the country’s lottery and sports betting monopoly, Športna Loterija. Slovenian media had reported that the bids for the operator were believed to be worth around €50m.
However, the potential sale to a foreign gambling operator caused public controversy and raised fears for the impact on Slovenian sport, which receives funding via a levy on the Športna Loterija’s revenue. The Skiing Association of Slovenia, Slovenian Olympic Committee, Slovenia Post and Lottery of Slovenia each own 20 per cent of the operator while the Slovenian Football Association holds a 17 per cent stake.
The remainder is owned by two smaller shareholders. The government itself does not have a stake but its agreement would be required for the sale.
Meanwhile, Entain CEE, the UK-listed gambling giant’s joint venture with the Czech fund Emma Capital, is buying Poland’s STS for £750m. However, Entain shareholder Eminence Capital has criticised the decision to fund the deal by issuing new shares.
Its CEO Ricky Sandler said: “While we can support the company pursuing seemingly rational acquisitions, funding them with highly undervalued equity is an empire building, shareholder value-destroying strategy.”
He added: “We can assure you that this particular shareholder is outraged and in light of the movement in the company’s share price we are clearly not alone in that sentiment. As shareholders lose confidence in Entain’s ability to allocate capital and create long-term value, it is quite likely they will support a sale of the company to MGM at a materially lower price than previously assumed.”