Allwyn Entertainment has announced that it has agreed to buy the UK’s National Lottery operator Camelot UK.
The Czech group will buy the current UK National Lottery operator before taking over the licence.
It emerged at the end of last month that Allwyn was in talks to buy Camelot UK from its owner, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. It has not confirmed the price but was previously reported that it could pay up to £100m.
In March, the Gambling Commission chose Allwyn as its preferred applicant to run the National Lottery, a decision that would see the Czech Lottery giant end Camelot’s three decades at the helm of the lottery. Camelot has run the lottery since its inception in 1984.
Allwyn was officially awarded the fourth licence to operate the lottery in September. With the licence to start in February 2024, the transition process has now begun, with Allwyn opening offices in Watford where Camelot has its base. However, there remained the question of legal action initiated by Camelot to challenge the Gambling Commission’s decision. Allwyn’s purchases of the operator would end that.
Meanwhile, Allwyn has gained access to €1.6bn through a senior facilities agreement with a syndicated group of international banks. The credit facility will be split into separate debt tranches: €441m of amortising term loans due 2027, €441m of bullet term loans due 2028 and a €300m revolving credit facility due 2027.
Allwyn will also have access to a £380m multipurpose facility that it will be able to draw as guarantees or term loans maturing in 2027. The proceeds of the agreement will mainly be used to refinance existing debt. After that, proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes and upfront costs for Allwyn’s preparation to run the UK’s National Lottery when the fourth licence period starts in February 2024.
UniCredit acted as global coordinator, with Clifford Chance as Allwyn’s legal advisor and Allen & Overy serving as the lenders’ counsel.
Allwyn CFO Kenneth Morton said: “I am very pleased by the level of interest that the transaction received despite the challenging capital market environment – all our existing banks have increased their commitments and we are happy to welcome several new lenders into our banking group.
Following our successful issuance of €600m of bonds earlier in the year, this transaction is a further testament to the strength of the Allwyn credit – as demonstrated by our continued strong financial performance – and our consistent delivery on our organic and inorganic growth strategies.”
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