CVC Capital Partners snaps up Italian lottery operator Sisal Group in €1B deal

CVC Capital Partners snaps up Italian lottery operator Sisal Group in €1B deal

Private equity group CVC Capital Partners has bagged Italian operator Sisal Group in a deal valued at €1 billion.

The firm announced on Monday that it has acquired a 100 percent equity stake in Sisal from its current private equity owners Apax Partners, Permira and Clessidra.

The transaction, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2016, will have CVC assume Sisal’s €996 million debt—hence the €1 billion total. The Italian operator posted €182 million earnings and €787 million in revenue last year, down 4 percent from the previous year, and a €40 million net loss. Sisal’s payment services, SisalPayment, accounted for just over one-fifth of the company’s overall sales.

Established in 1946, Milan-headquartered Sisal is Italy’s first company to be awarded with a license to operate in the gambling sector. The company today has a total network of 45,000 outlets offering lottery products, video lottery terminals, amusement with prizes machines and the Sisal Matchpoint sports and race betting brand.


London, Milan –30 May 2016 – CVC Capital Partners announced today that funds advised by CVC Capital Partners (“CVC”) have acquired a 100% equity stake in Italian gaming and payments operator, Sisal Group S.p.A. (“Sisal”), from funds advised by Apax Partners, Permira and Clessidra. The value of the transaction was €1.0bn.

Headquartered in Milan, Sisal is a leading operator in the Italian gaming market and the number one provider of payments services. Established in 1946, Sisal was the first Italian company to operate in the gaming sector as a Government Licensee. Through its capillary network of 45,000 points of sale, the company offers the public in excess of 500 payment services. Sisal employs about 2000 people.

CVC has a strong track record in the gaming industry through its strategic investments in Sky Bet (UK), Tipico (Germany) as well as its previous investment in William Hill.

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, added: “I would like to congratulate the entire CVC Milan Team for finalizing 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

Giancarlo Aliberti, Partner at Apax Partners, Roberto Biondi, Partner at Permira and Simone Cucchetti, Partner at Clessidra, added “Under the ownership of the Apax, Permira and Clessidra funds, Sisal  was transformed from a lottery player into a  retail conglomerate diversified across payment services, online, video lotteries, sport betting and lotteries. Over this period, profitability more than doubled and the company successfully increased market share in its verticals. We have enjoyed a successful partnership with Sisal’s management team and employees and wish them all the best for the company’s next phase of growth.

CVC was advised by Morgan Stanley, M&A, Bain and Company and AT Kearney on Commercial DD, PwC on Transaction Support, Latham and Watkins on Legal and Facchini Rossi e Soci on Tax, while the sellers were advised by Deutsche Bank, UBS, Legance, Maisto e Associati and PricewaterhouseCoopers.