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.
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.
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.
Cinven exited the business in June 2010.
- 28 January 2005:
Gala refinancing returns £275 million to shareholders