Billionaire Lao Is Exploring Options for Casino Firm Cirsa

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  • Owner is said to be working with bankers from Lazard
  • Gambling business could fetch $2.3 billion in a sale

Cirsa Gaming Corp. SA, the Spanish casino and bingo-hall operator owned by billionaire Manuel Lao Hernandez, is exploring options including an initial public offering or the sale of a minority stake amid interest from investors, according to people familiar with the matter.

Other options could include an outright sale or merger of the business, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Cirsa could fetch about 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in a potential sale, they said.

The company is working with financial advisory firm Lazard Ltd. on the review of options, the people said. No final decision has been made and Lao Hernandez could still decide against a transaction, they said. A sale could attract other companies in the betting industry, they said.

Representatives of Cirsa and Lazard declined to comment.

The company’s 500 million euros of 5.875 percent bonds due May 2023 gained 22 basis points and were bid at 104.92 cents on the euro to yield 4.84 percent.

Founded in 1978 and based in the Catalan city of Terrassa, just outside of Barcelona, Cirsa is Spain’s biggest casino and bingo-hall operator, according to its website. It counts about 134 casinos, more than 41,500 recreational machines, 68 bingo halls, 171 arcades, 2,000 sports betting outlets and more than 3,000 lottery terminals in Spain, Italy and in Latin America.

The global gambling industry has seen a wave of deals this year including Golden Entertainment Inc.’s $850 million cash-and-stock purchase of American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC to expand in key markets such as Las Vegas. In September, gaming and lottery company Scientific Games Corp. agreed to acquire NYX Gaming Group Ltd. for $631 million to bolster its global sports betting business.

— With assistance by John Glover

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