Greece Accepts Revised Emma Delta Bid for Opap Stake

Greece’s state asset sales fund accepted a revised offer from Emma Delta to buy a 33 percent stake in Opap SA as the government hailed the investment in the country’s biggest gambling company.

Emma Delta offered 652 million euros ($861 million), the Athens-based Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund said in an e-mailed statement today. The deal is subject to regulatory approval, the fund said. As part of the deal, Greece will also receive 60 million euros in a dividend for 2012.

The “first major Greek privatization was successfully completed today,” Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said, according to an e-mailed statement sent from his Athens-based office today.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s government has pledged to speed up asset sales, a key plank in cutting the country’s debt. Proceeds from the sale of the Opap stake as well as natural gas company Depa SA and grid operator Desfa SA will make up the bulk of 2.3 billion euros Greece needs to raise from asset sales this year, HRADF Chief Executive Officer Ioannis Emiris said in a March 13 interview.

Greece’s state asset fund asked Emma Delta to submit a higher offer after its initial bid of 622 million euros was deemed too low. The asset fund decided not to unseal a second binding offer it received from Third Point LLC, due to attached conditions.

Emma Delta is a variable equity fund controlled by Jiri Smejc and George Melissanidis, according to a statement from the fund. Investors include Czech Republic-based Emma Group and Russia’s ICT Group.