Industry Reports

Baltic Region’s Leading Gambling Operator to Be Acquired by UK’s Novalpina

London-based private equity firm Novalpina Capital announced a tender offer to purchase the leading gambling operator in the Baltic Region, Olympic Entertainment. In its cash offer, the European buyout company says it plans to acquire 100 per cent of the shares of the Estonia-headquartered casino and sports betting operator.

The deal is essential to the gambling and betting market in the Baltic countries and in Europe, as Olympic Entertainment Group owns and operates a large number of land-based and online casinos, sports books, and more betting facilities across seven European countries. The voluntary takeover offer will be officially published on April 4 and will be made by Novalpina Capital’s fully owned subsidiary Odyssey Europe. According to the press release by Novalpina, the shares of Olympic Entertainment Group AS (OEG) will be bought at a price of €1.90 in cash per share.

Armin Karu and Jaan Korpusov, OEG’s founders and largest owners who hold a total of 64 per cent of the shares, had agreed to tender their shares in the deal valuing the company at approximately €288 million. OEG and Odyssey Europe also agreed that the Baltic-focused betting operator would delist from Nasdaq Tallinn Stock Exchange. Later, Odyssey intends to merge the two companies, Novapina adds.

Olympic Entertainment Group AS (OEG) is based in Tallinn and owns a total of 117 casinos and 28 betting shops. As of September 30, 2017, the Group operated 24 casinos in Estonia, 52 in Latvia, 18 in Lithuania, 7 in Slovakia, 15 in Italy and one in Malta. Its importance to the European gambling industry has been recognized multiple times. Among its many accolades is the Best Land Based Casino Operator of the Year title at the 2013 Totally Gaming Awards held in London.

Impact on the Gambling Market in the Baltic States

The deal may have a vast impact on the gambling market in the region, as OEG is among the largest and oldest gambling and sports betting operators in this part of the European continent. In 2003, the company opened the largest land-based casino in the Baltic states, Reval Hotel and Casino in Vilnius, Lithuania. It also launched Estonia’s first online casino in 2010 in partnership with Playtech.

Despite being one of the small markers within the EU, Estonia remains an important part of the gambling business being home to one of the leading developers and suppliers of casino software solutions, Playtech. Other international leaders with a noticeable presence in the region are PokerStars, Betsafe, which is one of the many brands and subsidiaries of gambling giant Betsson, Paf Casino, and more. The transnational European lottery Eurojackpot is also popular in the Baltic States attracting people with a jackpot that starts at €10,000,000.