Private Equity Funds Seeking to Purchase Stake in Greek Gambling Monopoly

According to an announcement by the Greek agency for privatization HRADF there are now eight potential investors, including private equity funds and a large Chinese conglomerate, showing interest in purchasing a large stake in the Greek gambling monopoly OPAP.

The Chinese concern showing interest in the purchase of OPAP, which needed to meet a November 9 deadline, was a subsidiary of Fosun International. Fosun is one of the largest of China’s business groups whose key shareholder is the Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang.

OPAP is one of the largest-listed gambling companies in all of Europe. At the moment Greece is offering about one third of OPAP, which is almost its entire stake in the company. OPAP’s total market capitalization is valued at 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) on the Athens Stock Exchange.

Others interested in bidding on the Athens stake in OPAP are several private equity firms including BC Partners and TPG Capital LP.  Playtech, the giant Estonia-headquartered online gaming software provider is partnering with the German gaming equipment maker Gauselmann AG to possibly add their own bid.

OPAP is the major monopoly which the Greek privatization program is dealing with in 2013. The privatization program is part of the plan for Greece to raise 2.6 billion Euros to help make its way out of its severe debt and is part of the international bailout plan.