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Czech company to seek control of Casinos Austria

George Miller

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Casinos Austria
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The Czech operator increased its stake on Casinos Austria as it is looking to get the exclusive control of operations.

 

The largest shareholder of Casinos Austria, the Czech Sazka Group, is reportedly wanting to take over further company shares. The group wants to “acquire the sole control of Casinos Austria,” according to a statement released last week by the Federal Competition Authority (BWB). The company increased its stake from 11 to 34 percent.

As local media diepresse.com reported, the casino owners didn’t comment on the subject. The Sazka Group is managed by billionaires Karel Komarek and Jiri Smejc, and together they hold 34 percent of Casinos Austria, which is subject to governmental approvals. The second largest stakeholder is ÖBIB, a company owned and controlled by the Austrian government, with a 33.2 percent, and Novomatic with a 17.2 percent of the shares. A spokesman for the latter said that the company is not interested in selling its stake.

Novomatic was initially interested in acquiring a 40 percent of its shares from previous casino owners. Nevertheless, the Cartel Court prohibited the attempt last summer in order to maintain market competition. The gambling firm accused Austrian competition watchdog of setting excessively tough conditions for the planned merger. However, the BWB stated that the set of conditions proposed were economically feasible.

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