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CVC Capital Partners agree to acquire Sky Betting & Gaming

Global private equity and investment advisory firm, CVC Capital Partners (CVC), has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Sky Betting & Gaming (Sky Bet), from Sky Plc (Sky) in a transaction that values Sky Bet at £800 million. The price represents a multiple of approximately 15x EBITDA for the 12 months ended 30 June 2014, reflecting Sky Bet's record of strong growth and high cash generation.

Established in 2001 Sky Bet has grown rapidly to become one of the leading operators in the UK's online betting and gaming market, through its strong partnership with Sky Sports and its exceptional track record of technology and product innovation. Sky Bet was one of the first operators to recognise the potential of online and mobile platforms for betting and gaming, and today operates across a number of verticals: Sky Bet, its sports betting business; Sky Vegas & Sky Casino, its casino gaming businesses, Sky Poker and Sky Bingo. Oddschecker, the UK's leading odds comparison site is also part of the acquisition.

The Sky Bet management team, under the leadership of Managing Director Richard Flint, has been instrumental to Sky Bet's success. They will remain with the business under the new ownership structure, as will all of Sky Bet's employees.

"Over the last 7 years,” said Flint, “Sky Bet has grown rapidly to become one of the UK's leading online betting and gaming operators, achieved through the hard work of our employees and the valuable support of Sky and Sky Sports. Looking forward, we have exciting growth opportunities, both in the UK and internationally. Today's transaction brings in CVC as a new majority investor who will support us in the exciting next phase of our development, and retains the benefits of Sky's and Sky Sports' continuing involvement. CVC brings a broad international network, has an excellent track record of building businesses, as well as valuable experience in the betting & gaming sector, through previous investments in companies such as William Hill and IG Group."

Sky will work in partnership with CVC at Sky Bet, retaining an equity stake of approximately 20 per cent and having board representation. Sky Bet will continue its strong partnership with Sky Sports.

In 2013, CVC attempted to buy Betfair in a £1bn deal but the two companies could not agree on a price. CVC already has other interests in the gaming and betting sector including bookmaker, William Hill and is the controlling interest in Formula One racing. "We are delighted to have agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Sky Bet,” said  Rob Lucas, Managing Partner of CVC. “Richard Flint and his team have built a fantastic business, which is a leader in the fast growing mobile and online, betting and gaming markets. The partnership between CVC and Sky will provide a strong platform to support SkyBet's ongoing success at this exciting point in its development."

The transaction is subject to regulatory clearances in the UK and Ireland, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015.

 

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