Having established its position in the UK, Allwyn Entertainment is discussing a potential buyout of Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), according to Irish and British media speculation.
Reports in the Irish Times and Financial Times this week suggest that the company is actively considering such a move in a bid to further expand its presence across the pan-European lottery sector.
According to the IT’s sources, Allwyn has been working with UBS bankers on a sale, targeting a 90% purchase of PLI from its current owner, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTTP).
The OTTP, one of the world’s most prominent investment organisations, has been considering a sale of the PLI as part of a wider re-evaluation of its stake in global lottery operations.
This follows the OTTP’s sale of incumbent-and-outgoing UK National Lottery operator Camelot UK and the Camelot Lottery Systems Group (Camelot LS) to Allwyn, completed earlier this year.
Czech-founded Allwyn was named the next holder of the fourth 10-year UK National Lottery licence by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) last year.
Although Camelot launched a legal challenge against the decision, which ended its 23-year tenure as sole operator of the lottery, this was dropped after Allwyn secured acquisition terms with the OTPP.
As it stands, the company faces some study competition in a potential bid for Irish lottery management, according to the recent media reports, which state that four international firms are also mulling over the possibility.
According to the IT, Australia’s Lottery Corporation – the former lotteries and keno business of Tabcorp, divested last year as a separate ASX-listed enterprise – is interested, along with French state-backed Française des Jeux (FDJ), Scientific Games and International Game Technology (IGT).
The paper quoted a ‘person working on the sale’, who said: “Look at the lottery operators that have the money and that are looking for growth. That’s a list that is long enough to have a competitive process but it’s also short enough to be very tailored with only super motivated buyers.”
Should Allwyn be successful in a potential buyout of the PLI, it would be able to commence Irish lottery business activity almost immediately, as PLI currently has another 10 years left on its licence.
This could of course present a challenge further down the line, as Allwyn would then have to reapply for a new 20 year licence. However, given the firm’s recent success in the UK and extensive experience of European lotteries, it is likely confident of success in this future endeavour.