May 31, 2016

CVC move for Italian gaming and payments operator Sisal

CVC Capital Partner who own already Sky Betting & Gaming have now moved again to acquire 100% equity stake in Italian gaming and payments operator Sisal Group. The offer will include Capital Partners assuming Sisal’s huge debt of €960 million along with placing a €1 billion offer for the entire company.

The move has surprised many observers as Sisal in its 2015 report that it had a loss of €40 million on earnings of €182 million with whole group revenues of €787 million.

The equity firm are not afraid of big deals after the December 2014 purchase from BskyB of Sky Betting & Gaming for £800 million and then Tipico, the German sports betting operator having a controlling share in the giant firm for €1 billion.

However the Sisal bid still has to be approved by regulators.

Giampiero Mazza, Partner and Head of CVC’s Italian team, said: “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to invest in Sisal. The Company is a well-diversified entertainment business with a historical brand in Italy and strong market positions across gaming, lotteries, betting and convenience payments.

“Under its previous shareholders and the management team led by Emilio Petrone, Sisal was able to grow and reshape its business perimeter thorough a period of difficult macro conditions and regulatory uncertainty. Sisal today is ideally positioned to capture growth in a number of areas.

“We look forward to support Emilio and his team to consolidate Sisal’s leadership in the payments space, continue to develop its online gaming and betting platform and further innovate its proposition in proximity retail.”

Emilio Petrone, CEO of Sisal Group, added: “I would like to congratulate the entire CVC Milan Team for finalising a great acquisition. Sisal, celebrating its 70th anniversary, is a very important Italian company that is enjoying a period of fantastic growth and overall results. I am confident that with CVC, we will make a formidable team enabling Sisal to fully exploit its potential, becoming even stronger and more competitive. Personally, I am thrilled to lead this new, exciting phase in the company’s history. I want to thank Apax, Permira and Clessidra for the consistent and valuable support they have given to me and the company over the last years”.

Russia wants to outlaw Bitcoin and make their own digital currency

Paul Livadniy, deputy director of the Rosfinmonitoring, Russia’s federal anti-money laundering agency, said that Russia was moving ahead with a plan to create a government-sponsored and monitored digital currency.

In essence the government in Russia want to outlaw Bitcoin and make their own digital currency, which is not very popular with any of the digital companies and individuals that use Bitcoin. The main problem with the Russian Bitcoin would be that before you deal in them you would have to register with the government, so they can follow and see exactly what trades and deals you are doing, along with of course possibly using them for online gambling.

Only a handful of countries, including Bangladesh and Bolivia, have banned its citizens from using bitcoin. Were it to pass such a law, Russia would create by far the largest population legally prohibited from the technology. It’s far from clear, however, how the Russian government could expect to enforce such a law.

There have been other countries that have attempted to create their own digital currency but none have been successful and Bitcoin still rules the digital world.