OPAP Set to Buy More of Stoiximan
OPAP Group, a Greek gambling operator has opted to increase its ownership of the Greek and Cypriot operations of the online betting operator Stoiximan Group. The deal follows the initial purchase of a 51% stake in Stoiximan by OPAP that was agreed upon in January of 2019 and was approved in November of the same year by the Greek regulator the Hellenic Competition Commission.
The initial agreement between the two operators was for a 51% stake that would cost the Greek operator OPAP a total amount of €94.9m. More recently since this deal was cleared by the Greek regulator, the Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus has also given the deal the green light, which allows the companies to move to the next stages of the acquisition.
This is not the first time that OPAP has sought to acquire shares in the Stoiximan Group. The operator already owns a 36.75% stake in the group that it purchased back in September of 2018. These shares were purchased through OPAP’s parent company TCB Holdings and costed a total of €50 million.
In the new agreement between the companies, OPAP has also elected to take 15.48% as an indirect stake in the business.
Overall, with all of the purchases of shares that OPAP has made in the Stoiximan Group, the Greek operator now owns a total of 84.49% of the shares in the Group. Whilst this still needs to be approved regulatory and competition standards, it will allow OPAP to continue to offer a diverse array of gambling options to the Greek and Cypriot markets.
OPAP also offers services to other European countries. These include Portugal, Germany, and Romania, who it supplies under the Betano arm of its business.
Once all of the legal processes have been completed and both parties have reached a full agreement, the total amount of money that will be due to Stoiximan from OPAP will come to somewhere around €163.4 million that will have to be paid during 2020.
This figure is not set in stone, however, and could rise significantly in the future should the Stoiximan Group succeed in meeting certain criteria set out by OPAP. These performance-based payouts would be calculated from the earnings of the Group before tax for the years of 2020 and 2021.
The deal won’t change the day-to-day running of the Stoiximan Group all that much, at least at first. The business will continue to operate independently of OPAP and will maintain the same management and executive team that it has had up until this point. The businesses will also remain separate legal entities.
The legal entity that has control over the Stoiximan Group will be controlled by OPAP, however, which will appoint its own directors to the board.
The Vision of the Future for OPAP and the Stoiximan Group
Over the coming months and years, OPAP is planning to make multiple changes that it believes will modernize the business and will help it to grow into an even more successful gambling service provider.
Initially, the business had set itself a target to increase its online presence throughout 2020, and according to the company, it has made strides in the right direction over the past two years. Whilst building up its own online profile, OPAP has simultaneously been investing heavily in the leading online operator in Greece that is the Stoiximan Group.
In a statement on the recent acquisition of the increased number of shares of Stoiximan, the chief executive of Stoiximan Damian Cope emphasized the growth of both companies in recent months and years.
According to Cope, both have shown very promising growth, despite both companies having different consumer bases and targets. This growth is the reason that OPAP has decided to invest so heavily in Stoiximan and has decided to increase its numbers of shares beyond those that were previously planned.
The chief executive of the Stoiximan Group also had some words to say on the agreement that has been made. George Daskalakis spoke of the initial investment that was made by OPAP over a year prior to this agreement. He also praised the growth of all of the entities involved in the deal and tied their successes to highly thought out plans that have been effectively implemented by all those working at all of the companies
Daskalakis not only views the acquisition as a strong investment to continue to fuel the growth of the Stoiximan Group in the future, but also as a vote of confidence in the business from OPAP, and an indication that the company is on the right path.
Only time will tell whether the two businesses will continue their upward trajectory in the coming months and years, but the future looks bright. OPAP will hope that this acquisition will help to remain the premier Greek gambling operator. In 2019, the gambling shareholding group Sazka managed to secure a total of around 40% of the shares in the Greek Operator.