According to Spanish daily newspaper Cinco Días, private equity group Blackstone will seek to launch an initial public offering (IPO) for Spanish gambling giant Cirsa. The deal is reportedly estimated at up to €3 billion ($3.4 billion) and could be one of the most significant for the European and Spanish gambling industries. The report states that the IPO should go ahead in April 2022, although Blackstone is yet to confirm, and the date may be subject to changes.
Blackstone invested in Cirsa back in 2018, looking to consolidate its portfolio in the sector. Cirsa, which operates gambling shops, and both retail and digital properties across Spain and Latin America, joined the equity group for an undisclosed sum of money. The Cirsa acquisition brought out bidding war between Apollo, another equity group with an appetite for prime gambling assets, and Blackstone, among others.
Early Details about the IPO Available, Blackstone on the Hunt for More Assets
According to Cinco Días, Lazard, an investment bank with vast experience in IPOs, has been tapped as an advisor on the upcoming move. Cirsa’s operations have been negatively impacted by the pandemic and the increasingly difficult regulatory context in the company’s home market of Spain.
Cirsa had to go through closures of properties in both 2020 and 2021 and Blackstone sought to buoy up the company by investing €120 million ($135 million) at the time. Cirsa’s Q3 2020 report reflected on the challenges that the pandemic raised for the company in 2020.
Meanwhile, Blackstone is also looking to secure a stake or buy out Crown Resorts. The company last tabled an AU$8.5 billion ($6.2 billion) bid in December, but Crown is not convinced that this amount adequately reflects its value.
While beleaguered due to numerous investigations into its business model and alleged ties to criminals across Asia, Crown Resorts has sent Blackstone a clear signal that it would not sell on the cheap, because of its temporary setbacks.