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Days after Zeal Network rejected an approach from Lottoland Holdings for Zeal’s German business, Lottoland has increased its stake in Zeal to 5.53 per cent.

This morning, Lottoland issued a statement confirming it had filed a TR1 form with both the UK Financial Conduct Authority and Zeal confirming it now holds 5.53 per cent in Zeal, up from 4.01 per cent – a more than 30 per cent increase in its shareholding.

The brief statement comes against a torrid backdrop of public mud-slinging between the two companies, as Lottoland continues to challenge the proposed takeover of Lotto24 by Zeal, a deal Lottoland claims is only in the interest of “certain shareholders”.

The operator has requested Zeal postpone the general meeting scheduled for this Friday, January 18, at which Zeal hopes shareholders will wave through the acquisition.

One of the grounds for delaying the meeting, cited by Lottoland, was that it had an alternative transaction it wished to table that shareholders should be able to consider fully.

Last Friday, Lottoland did put forward a bid, worth €60m to €76m, for Zeal’s German business, only to see it swiftly rejected by the Zeal board as “significantly undervaluing” the assets in question.

Lottoland’s response has been to increase its stake in Zeal.