Flutter attains Italian ‘gold medal’ via £1.62bn Sisal completion

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Flutter Entertainment has dipped its toes into the M&A well once more after gaining all necessary regulatory confirmations and closing the £1.62bn acquisition of Italian online gaming operator Sisal from CVC Capital Partners.

Peter Jackson, Flutter Chief Executive, had previously suggested that the purchase was identified due to the company looking to “attain a gold medal position in the Italian market”.

The deal, which was first detailed in December 2021, is also said to align with the group’s strategy of investing to build leadership positions in regulated markets.

“For some time we have wanted to pursue this market opportunity via an omni-channel strategy and this acquisition will ideally position us to do so,” Jackson noted at the time of the agreement being reached.

Sisal is praised as having “performed strongly since the transaction was announced,” with year-on-year growth of 58 per cent in revenue to £402m and 51 per cent in EBITDA to £120m during the first half of 2022. The prior year was  impacted by COVID-related retail restrictions.

The gambling group has previously identified a number of key strategic outcomes in pursuing the acquisition, including a perceived combined online share share, as of October 2021, of 20 per cent with Sisal added to Flutter’s existing Italian presence through PokerStars and Betfair.

Sisal’s omni-channel presence was also pinpointed as delivering “a competitive advantage” to Flutter, as was a swelled customer base through the addition of 300,000 average online players, in the 12 months to June 2021, and over 9.5 million retail customers. 

The group will also increase the proportion of revenue from regulated markets via an enlarged standing across “Europe’s second largest regulated gambling market”. 

Moreover, Flutter also highlighted a bolstered talent pool “by adding a proven management team that will continue to lead the business and who have sought to take a leadership position in the promotion of safer gambling in Italy”.