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France – Joa could be about to change hands

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American private equity fund Blackstone Group is considering buying French casino group, Joa.

Blackstone has recently entered the gaming market with a joint purchase of Paysafe and the outright purchase of Clarion, organisers of gaming exhibition ICE Totally Gaming.

Capital Finance has reported that the private equity investor is in exclusive talks to buy Joa, who operates 22 casinos in France making it the country’s third biggest operator, for €220m.
The arrival of Blackstone could enable the Joa Group to consolidate its position in the French market, while opportunities are opening up with the resumption of activity in the sector. But this could also be an opportunity to develop abroad, as Laurent Lassiaz, Chairman of Joa’s board of directors, has been suggesting for several months.

Joa’s ownership has passed from Bridgepoint and Loto Québec, to Alchemy Partners, who bought more than 50 per cent of the shares. Since November 2014, the operator’s debt hasbeen reduced by two thirds, from €330m to €120m

At the end of the 2015-2016 financial year, the Lyonnais group posted a turnover of €227m, up 13 per cent year-on-year, with EBITDA of €30m and an increase in GGR of seven per cent. Mr. Lassiaz expects a 10 per cent increase in revenues for the current financial year 2016-2017 at the beginning of the year.

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