Zeal Network accuses Lottoland of ‘interference’ as public spat escalates

Zeal CEO Dr Helmut Becker

Responding to yesterday’s letter from Lottoland, heavily criticising Zeal Network’s proposed acquisition of Lotto24, Zeal has issued a cutting response, accusing Lottoland of interference and “spreading uncertainty”

The spiky statement from Zeal acknowledges yesterday’s comments from “secondary lottery operator Lottoland” and its suggestion of making “an unspecified offer for unspecified assets of the Zeal Group by January 31”

“Since the announcement of the planned takeover of Lotto24 seven weeks ago, Zeal has not received any proposals for alternative transactions,” it reads.

“Zeal remains open to discussing serious alternative proposals until January 18 when the Extraordinary General Meeting will take place as planned.”

The statement continues, claiming the reasons for the comments from Lottoland are not simply those stated in the letter from Lottoland CEO Nigel Birrell, which were that the takeover of Zeal was specifically in the interest of “certain shareholders,” while Lottoland sought an “alternative transaction” in the interests of “all shareholders”.

But Zeal is having none of it. “The intention behind Lottoland’s comments is to interfere with the planned takeover of Lotto24 and spread uncertainty,” the statement reads.

“Given Lottoland’s obvious position as a direct competitor, Zeal cautions all shareholders to treat their comments with due scepticism.

“Zeal advises its shareholders, in considering how to vote at the shareholder meeting, to take note of the information in the shareholder circular and notice sent in connection with the meeting, which is also available online at zeal-offer.com.”

Dr Helmut Becker, CEO of Zeal, one of the addressees of Birrell’s letter, commented: “We firmly believe that, of the alternatives we have considered, our proposal to reunite Zeal and Lotto24 has the strongest strategic rationale, offers the best opportunity for sustainable growth and creates the most value for Zeal’s shareholders.

“Strong opposition from a competing secondary lottery operator is clear and compelling evidence that our transaction is the best way forward for our company and our shareholders.”

Read about the letter from Lottoland’s Nigel Birrell here.