Blackstone Mulling $3.4 Billion Cirsa IPO

Spanish newspaper Cinco Dias has reported that venture capital giant Blackstone will be taking the casino operator Cirsa public in a deal that could value it at as much as $3.4 billion.

According to the report, Blackstone has contracted the American investment bank, Lazard, to advise on the deal, which is expected to take place around April 2022. The newspaper also reported that Deutsche Bank and Barclays will act as coordinators in the deal.

Cirsa was founded in 1978, and it operates gambling venues in Spain, Italy, Morocco, and Latin America. Blackstone acquired the operator in 2018 for an undisclosed amount, beating rival funds such as Apollo.

Cirsa's operations were severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and it suffered numerous closures in 2020 and 2021. Last year, to help the operator survive the pandemic, Blackstone provided it with a cash injection of €120 million. However, in recent months, as restrictions have eased and properties reopened, Cirsa has experienced a recovery.

In the third quarter of 2021, it reported an operating profit of €100.6 million, helped along by a return to full operating capacity in Spain. Its casinos' segment for Spain exceeded 100% of the income earned in 2019, and its EBITDA was €40.2 million.

When it published the results, Cirsa said, "These results reflect the strict fulfillment of the targets included in the contingency and commercial plans implemented to face the pandemic situation."

However, according to the latest reports, Blackstone now wishes to offload the operator and would like to do so through an IPO so that it can maximize the operator's value and recoup its investment.

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