Entain Plc has abandoned further negotiations to buy a controlling stake in the Slovenian monopoly betting operator Športna Loterija.
The gambling group confirmed to the Slovenian press agency STA that they had stopped negotiations with the Ministry of Finance.
The announcement comes in response to the Finance Ministry’s statement on Friday that all offers to acquire a stake in Športna Loterija have been withdrawn.
Entain did not provide any further information about its decision or plans for the Slovenian market going forward. They simply stated: “We can confirm that, after careful consideration, Entain has decided to postpone the acquisition of a stake in Športna Loterija.”
Thus, Športna Loterija will remain under the control of three sports associations: the Slovenian Ski Association (SZS), the Slovenian Olympic Committee (OKS) and the Football Association of Slovenia (NZS).
Earlier, Slovenian news sources reported on the government’s permission for a possible sale of a stake in Športna Loterija, in order to partially privatize the sports betting monopoly.
Despite the Ministry of Finance’s announcement that all applications were being withdrawn, the Slovenian Ski Association (SZS), which owns a 20% stake in Športna Loterija, mentioned that the sale could be completed in 2023.
Eastern European gambling group Superbet is reportedly monitoring the situation closely as it considers expanding its presence in the Balkan region.
In June trading, Entain agreed to a cash deal to acquire Poland’s leading sports bookmaker, STS Group, for €750 million.
However, the deal, which saw Entain raising additional €600 million, was criticized by US investor Eminence Capital, who called it unfavorable to Entain’s share price and corporate valuation.
On August 10 Entain plans to publish its interim results for the first half of the year, where management will provide an update on its Eastern European expansion strategy and M&A plans.
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