SAZKA and Austrian state holding company OBAG have entered into a cooperation agreement that paves the way for the Czech-based lottery and gaming group to become the majority owner of lottery group Casinos Austria

in Lottery

“We see this cooperation as a long-term partnership and want to use our expertise in the lottery and gaming sector to help further strengthen Casinos Austria AG and Austrian lotteries,” said SAZKA Group Chief Executive Robert Chvatal.

VIENNA, March 6 (Reuters) - SAZKA and Austrian state holding company OBAG have entered into a cooperation agreement that paves the way for the Czech-based lottery and gaming group to become the majority owner of lottery group Casinos Austria, they said on Friday.

Following an acquisition spree in recent years, SAZKA Group has grown into one of Europe’s largest lottery and gaming operators, which has previously suggested it could consider a stock market listing.

“We see this cooperation as a long-term partnership and want to use our expertise in the lottery and gaming sector to help further strengthen Casinos Austria AG and Austrian lotteries,” said SAZKA Group Chief Executive Robert Chvatal.

SAZKA is already the largest Casinos Austria shareholder with a 38% stake, followed by OBAG with 33%.

The new agreement was made possible by gambling group Novomatic’s decision to sell its 17.2% stake in Casinos Austria, allowing other shareholders to increase their stakes in relation to their holding.

SAZKA and OBAG, however, agreed for the state holding to waive its option, thus enabling SAZKA to obtain a majority stake, they said. In turn, the two agreed to jointly control Casinos Austria for the next 15 years.

The company’s headquarters and all main corporate and business functions will remain in Vienna, according to the deal, which safeguards locations and jobs and ensures that SAZKA will not bring competing businesses to Austria.

The tax domicile will also remain in Austria and OBAG will have the right to nominate Casinos Austria’s chief executive and chairman of the supervisory board.

SAZKA group companies take in bets worth over 17 billion euros ($19 billion) annually in the Czech Republic, Austria, Greece, Cyprus and Italy, according to its website.

Casinos Austria Group reported an operating profit of 144 million euros on revenues of 4.5 billion euros in 2018. ($1 = 0.8836 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

https://www.reuters.com/article/austria-lottery-sazka/czech-sazka-group-on-track-to-become-majority-owner-of-casinos-austria-idUSL8N2AY60C