Gala Coral

Activity
Integrated betting and gaming company
Transaction value
€5,000 million
Acquired
Mar 2003/Oct 2005
Realised
Jun 2010
Sector
Consumer

Business
Cinven purchased the Gala Group for €1.8 billion in March 2003.
Gala was the leading high-volume, low-stake gaming business in the UK, with the largest licensed bingo operations and the third largest casino operations in the UK.

Strategy
The strategy was to capitalise on the strong Gala brand to grow the core business and roll-out casinos to increase market share in order to take full advantage of the modernisation of the UK’s gaming legislation.

Gala made significant progress in implementing this strategy, developing both its businesses through acquisitions, new-builds, better services and upgrading existing facilities.

Progress
In August 2005, Cinven recapitalised Gala and sold a minority stake to another investor, in a deal which allowed it to return more than its initial investment whilst still retaining a substantial ongoing investment in the Group.

In October 2005, Cinven invested further in Gala to enable it to acquire Coral Eurobet, the UK’s third largest bookmaker and internet gaming operator, for €3.2 billion. The enlarged group was the pre-eminent integrated betting and gaming company in Europe with more than 2,000 outlets across the UK and Italy. The merger successfully realised both revenue and cost synergies and the business performed well through to 2007; however, thereafter the impact of the UK smoking ban, significant regulatory changes and the financial crisis severely impacted the business.

Outcome
Cinven exited the business in June 2010.