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Entain reportedly in talks to acquire Baltic operator Olympic, seeks regional expansion

Olympic Voodoo Casino in the Latvian capital of Riga.
Reading time 1:39 min

Entain is reportedly after a takeover of Olympic Entertainment Group, one of the Baltic region’s largest gambling companies.

Bloomberg reported last week that UK-based Ladbrokes owner made an indicative cash offer in recent weeks of more than $1 billion for the Estonian company, which runs casinos and online gambling sites in the region under the OlyBet and MaxBet brands, according to sources cited by the news agency who asked not to be identified. They said discussions are ongoing, and there’s no certainty they will result in a transaction.

Olympic is one of the few remaining assets from the portfolio of London-based Novalpina Capital, which owns NSO Group, developer of the controversial Pegasus spyware tool that has recently come under fire for its use by autocratic governments to spy on journalists and activists. The private equity firm collapsed earlier this year amid a dispute between its three founders, and its investors voted to move management of the fund’s remaining holdings to Berkeley Research Group. 

Entain acquired Swedish gaming company Enlabs AB earlier this year to expand in the Baltics and could get cost savings through a further deal in the region. Olympic has operations in countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Italy. The company, which Novalpina bought in 2018 for about 288 million euros ($325 million), has grown through acquisitions that helped it expand in markets including Romania and Croatia. 

Olympic owns more than 100 casinos as of the end of 2020, according to Olympic’s website. The company’s properties include the Olympic Voodoo Casino in the Latvian capital of Riga, which it says is the largest in the Baltics. It’s also the official betting partner of the NBA in several markets.

Entain’s proposal would include an upfront payment to acquire Olympic’s online business and operations in Lithuania and Croatia, as well as an additional earnout to be paid in early 2023 depending on performance, according to Bloomberg. Entain would also be seeking an option to buy Olympic’s remaining operations in other countries in early 2023, per the same sources. It reportedly offered to inject liquidity into that part of the business before it buys those assets, in return for concessions from bondholders including an extension of the debt maturity.

Recently, Entain has been the target of two takeover attempts. DraftKings walked away from a potential $22.4 billion deal last month and MGM Resorts International had tried to buy Entain earlier this year for $11 billion.

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