Czech lottery operator Allwyn Entertainment to go public in $9.3bn SPAC deal

Czech lottery operator Allwyn Entertainment (formerly SAZKA Entertainment) has agreed to merge with blank check company Cohn Robbins Holdings Corp. (CRHC) in a deal that values the former at around $9.3 billion.

Through the deal with the special acquisition purpose company (SPAC), Allwyn Entertainment plans to go public with trading expected to be on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The transaction is said to give the shareholders of Cohn Robbins Holdings the scope to establish ownership stakes at a maximum enterprise value of around $8.7 billion.

Existing stakeholders of Allwyn Entertainment are expected to retain nearly 83% ownership in the combined company, and no new shareholder of the enlarged entity will own a stake of over 5% immediately after the merger.

Allwyn Entertainment, which is a lottery, entertainment, and digital gaming operator, is said to deliver more than €16bn in wagers.

The NYSE listing is expected to support the global growth strategy of the lottery operator by giving it increased access to capital markets to complement its balance sheet and cash flow generation, and help it to expedite its organic and inorganic growth strategy. Besides, the public listing will improve and grow its global brand, including in highly attractive markets in the US, said Allwyn Entertainment.

Robert Chvatal — CEO of Allwyn Entertainment said: “It is an opportune time for Allwyn to take this exciting step. Jurisdictions in Europe and North America should have higher expectations for the innovations their lotteries can deliver. With consumers expecting the option to experience and pay for entertainment online, Allwyn is building stronger, more individualized and more valuable relationships with our customers.

“We look forward to applying our experience in developing market- specific, culturally-attuned lottery entertainment to new customers and geographies as an NYSE-listed company.”

Czech lottery operator Allwyn Entertainment to go public in $9.3bn SPAC deal

Czech lottery operator Allwyn Entertainment to go public in $9.3bn SPAC deal. Photo courtesy of Thanasis Papazacharias from Pixabay.

Cohn Robbins Holdings is expected to bring nearly $828 million to the merged entity through the cash it holds in trust. Apart from that, the deal is backed by a private investment in public equity (PIPE) of over $350 million from a consortium of global investors, including $50 million from the sponsor entity of Cohn Robbins Holdings.

Gary D. Cohn and Clifton S. Robbins — Co-Founders and Co-Chairmen of Cohn Robbins Holdings said: “We have worked with hundreds of management teams and invested in hundreds of companies in our careers, but we founded Cohn Robbins to seek out just one. We believe that Allwyn is the right company, in the right industry, at the right time and with the right leadership team.

“We are excited by the growth opportunities the Company has ahead of it and we look forward to providing our support. We also are very pleased to be bringing this transaction to Cohn Robbins shareholders in an innovative way and at an attractive valuation.”

The deal, which is subject to approval from Cohn Robbins Holdings’ stockholders, gaming regulatory approvals, and other closing conditions, is likely to close in Q2 2022.

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