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Kirol denies Blackstone takeover rumours

Basque Country operator Grupo Kirol has denied rumours that it will sell its flagship business Kirolbet to US private equity fund Blackstone Group in a €100m deal.

The news was posted by Spanish ‘El Confidencial’ which reported that Blackstone had sanctioned a €100 million bid to acquire Kirolbet’s entire Basque Country gambling operations.

The deal would see Blackstone expand its Spanish gambling portfolio, acquiring the Euskadi region’s biggest retail betting firm. Kirolbet, which is based in Eibar, operates a network of 4,000 terminals and employs 300 staff.

Kirol Group issued a statement saying it is looking at growing its business rather than selling.

“Kirol Group denies its Kirolbet operation will be sold to the Blackstone fund. The Eibar-based group, in its 11 years leading the market through its technology solution Kirolsoft, has always been targeted by large companies and investment funds, but never has a sale materialised,” said the statement.

As a fully autonomous province, the Basque Country retains the right to establish independent business laws and taxes, which has seen the Euskadi government grant only three gambling licenses to Grupo Kirol, RETAbet and Codere SA. The latter company was linked as a potential target of Blackstone last year.

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