Entain plc, the gambling giant behind the major betting brand Ladbrokes, is looking to expand its operations on the Baltic market, sources with knowledge of the subject revealed. The company plans to achieve this by taking over the Olympic Entertainment Group, one of the biggest gambling operators in the Baltic countries. The British gambling firm has allegedly proposed to purchase the Estonia-based operator for the generous amount of $1 billion.
The Estonian betting firm operates a range of online gaming products and landbased casinos in the Baltic region, the sources claim. However, they insisted to remain anonymous because information about the takeover must stay private for the time being. Olympic Entertainment Group is among the few remaining assets in Novalpina Capital’s portfolio.
The latter is a private equity firm based in London. It also owns NSO Group, the company behind the development of the Pegasus spyware software. The surveillance tool recently stirred up controversy after claims emerged that repressive governments rely on it for spying on local activists and journalists.
Novalpina Capital announced its liquidation this past July after its three partners failed to reach a resolution of their months-long disputes. As a result, Novalpina’s investors decided to transfer the management of its remaining holdings to the global consulting firm Berkeley Research Group.
According to the sources, the sale of the Olympic Entertainment Group may enable Novalpina’s backers to recover their investments with a profit. This would be possible even before the private equity firm disposes of its other remaining holdings, Laboratoire XO and NSO.
Entain Purchased Enlabs AB Earlier in 2021
Earlier in 2021, Entain purchased the Sweden-based betting company Enlabs AB for approximately $343 million. If the Olympic transaction indeed takes place, it would potentially enable the British gambling giant to broaden its scope to other major European markets. Another deal in the Baltic region could also result in cost savings for the UK company.
Olympic Entertainment Group operates in various European countries like Slovakia, Latvia, Italy, Estonia, Malta, and Lithuania. Olympic was purchased by Novalpina Capital back in 2018 for around €288 million (roughly $325 million). It witnessed further growth through a series of acquisitions that enabled it to extend its reach to markets like Croatia and Romania.
The company operates different gambling sites under the brands MaxBet and OlyBet. According to its official website, Olympic Entertainment Group has offices in six countries, employs 2,200 people, and operates more than a hundred casinos in Europe as of December 2020. Olympic is also the operator of one of the largest landbased casinos in the Baltic region, the Riga-based Olympic Voodoo Casino.
The sources claim discussions for Entain’s takeover of Olympic are in progress, although there is no guarantee they will end with a transaction agreement. Representatives of the British gambling company are yet to comment on the takeover proposal.