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In what could presage the break-up of embattled Spanish betting group Codere SA, venture capitalists DD3 have made an offer that can’t be refused to hive off and merge with the Iberian company’s iGaming division.
Mexico City-based DD3 have set up a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, on New York’s Nasdaq Exchange to buy Codere’s online operations in what looks like a bargain basement financial package of US$202 million, part cash on the nail, part trust underwritten by Baron Funds, MG Capital and LarrainVial Chile (£145m/€170m).
Looking to complete by the end of this year, DD3, led by ex-Goldman Sachs-er Martin Werner, will seek a valuation of US$350 million for its new baby on the Nasdaq (£251.5m/€294m).
The Codere Online avatar will continue to be led by its present Managing Director Moshe Edree.
He said: “By going public and with the new capitalization, we will be in a superb position to leverage our online business in our core countries of Spain, Italy, Mexico, Colombia and Panama, as well as the City of Buenos Aires, where we expect to start operating in late 2021, to fuel our further expansion in other high-growth Latin American markets.”
Martin Werner, for his part, added that Latin America’s iGaming market has “tremendous” prospects for near, medium and long-term growth because of the increasing adoption of smartphones, e-commerce and Internet connectivity.
“We are excited to partner with Moshe and his team to bring Codere Online to the public markets,” said Werner.
Despite the DD3 move, the larger Codere Group–hitherto kings of the traditional gaming palaces and gambling machine halls, across Hispano-Latino markets, until hammered by the Covid effect—is still shouldering the burden of over €700 million of accumulated debt (£599m/US$833.5m).
The group has worked a €575 million rescue package with its creditors (£492m/US$685m) but is still fighting for air during the ongoing pandemic.
“We are proud of this deal, which will provide our online team with the financial resources needed to grow Codere Online and take it to a new, higher level,” argued Vicente Di Loreto, Codere Group CEO.
But it remains to be seen if the group’s antiquated core will escape the crash and burn of Covid.