Blackstone Planning IPO for Spanish Casino Giant Cirsa, Private Equity Group Invests in Superbet

Posted on: May 14, 2019, 10:20h. 

Last updated on: May 14, 2019, 10:20h.

The Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms that has long been invested in the gaming industry, is considering an IPO offering for its Spanish casino giant Cirsa.

Blackstone Group Cirsa casino IPO
Interested in owning a casino in Spain, Mexico, or South America? An initial public offering to invest in Cirsa could be coming from the Blackstone Group. (Image: Casino Cirsa Valencia)

The New York-based asset management and investment firm acquired Cirsa in April 2018 for an undisclosed sum, but the casino operator’s asking price was said to be between $2.4 billion and $3 billion. A bidding war ensued between several private equity giants including former Caesars owner Apollo Global Management and Cerberus Management.

Spanish business media outlet Economia Digital reports that Blackstone is eyeing an IPO for the casino business. Journalist Carles Huguet explains, “Like all investment funds, Blackstone has no vocation to remain a major shareholder for a long time. Thus, everything seems to indicate that it will recover an old aspiration of the company: go public.”

Cirsa presently controls 24 percent of the gaming industry in Spain. The company additionally owns 160 casinos or gaming venues in Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America.

Super Investor

Blackstone has considerable amount of money in the global gaming industry.

The group acquired The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas in 2014 for $1.73 billion. In 2017, Blackstone purchased Clarion Events – an exhibition organizer invested in the gaming sector and responsible for EiG and ICE – for around $775 million.

In addition to last year’s acquisition of Cirsa, Blackstone bought Ukrainian social gaming developer Murka in March 2019 for an undisclosed sum. It’s now further increasing its holdings in the global gaming industry by investing nearly $200 million into Superbet – the sports betting and gaming company based in Romania.

“Blackstone’s equity investment and extensive experience will help us maintain and grow our market-leading position in Romania and pursue expansion opportunities in Central Eastern Europe and globally,” Superbet CEO Sacha Dragic said in a release.

Stripping Assets?

Though Blackstone appears more than bullish on gaming, there were rumors recently suggesting the company was interested in unloading The Cosmopolitan. After spending $1.73 billion for the Strip casino resort keys, Blackstone invested another $500 million in renovations and upgrades.

The Cosmopolitan was a classic buy it, fix it, and sell it opportunity,” Blackstone real estate executive Ken Caplan stated last year.

The Wall Street Journal says several real estate experts in Las Vegas believe the property could go for $4 billion or more. The resort’s 3,000-room hotel are often some of the costliest occupancies on the Strip.

Billionaire Phil Ruffin, who owns Treasure Island and is presently interested in buying Caesars casinos along the Strip, says Las Vegas casinos on the main drag are “irreplaceable.”

As for possible Cosmopolitan suitors, the WSJ identified MGM Resorts, Malaysia’s Genting Group, and Wynn Resorts as potential bidders. Genting has long desired a presence on the Strip, and work on its Resorts World Las Vegas remains under construction six years after the company acquired the land opposite Encore in March 2013.