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FDJ acquires Premier Lotteries Ireland in a deal worth €350 million

French national lottery operator La Française des Jeux (FDJ) has recently announced the acquisition of Irish National Lottery operator Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI). The multi-million deal is a step forward for FDJ in its quest to expand its lottery operations internationally. France’s state-backed operator has had a fantastic start to 2023. It has recorded a net income of €181 million in the first half of the year, which is up by 13% as compared to last year. FDJ is targeting a total revenue of €2.5 billion for the year 2023. PLI recorded a revenue of €140 million in 2022. The acquisition is expected to increase the FDJ group growth by 5% and will cost the operator €350 million.

White concrete building under blue sky during daytime.

French operator acquires Irish National Lottery operator.
©Nathan Cima/Unsplash

La Française des Jeux Group (FDJ) is the leading gaming operator in the regulated jurisdiction of France. The FDJ Group is the second-largest lottery operator in Europe and the fourth-largest in the world. Along with its own lottery games, the operator also provides sports betting activities and manages online sports betting as well. The FDJ group has a market share of over 25 million players, which means one in two adult French citizens is a customer of the company. The operator offers a fun and accessible range of games that are constantly evolving. It is a high-interest, responsible group that strives to operate in the public interest. The FDJ group’s values and business model strive to achieve the perfect balance between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainable Growth. It embodies a unique solidarity-oriented business model targeting sustainable growth. The FDJ also has a corporate foundation that supports projects related to education, culture, and sports. The French operator is the number one gaming network in the country. It has more than 30,000 points of sales in 11,000 municipalities. As a result, the state-backed entity boasts the largest Pos Network, with a station available within ten minutes nationwide.

Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) has been operational since 2014. It holds the license to operate the Irish National Lottery until 2034. Before PLI, the Irish National Lottery was operated by An Post since its inception in 1986. Its license was renewed for another 20 years in 2014. The PLI consortium includes the Canadian pension fund Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, An Post, Ireland’s national postal service, and the An Post Pension Fund. Ireland’s betting and gambling market was the seventh largest in Europe last year. It was reported that 76% of adults in the country have played a lottery game at least once. PLI is also known for its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, which will boost the mission of FDJ. In 2022, the company gave €260 million out of its total revenue to good causes via more than 4000 charitable organizations. PLI has more than 200 employees and offers around 45 games. It has a diversified network, with over 5,300 points of sale plus an online presence with over 15% digital stake.

On July 27, 2023, the FDJ group announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire PLI. The acquisition deal is worth a whopping €350 million. The acquisition will not affect PLI’s exclusive rights to operate the Irish National Lottery until the year 2034. The acquisition of PLI by FDJ is part of FDJ’s strategy to expand its international operations. The deal is expected to be completed before the end of this year. The completion of the takeover is subject to approvals by both national regulators. Clifford Chance and A&L Goodbody LLP served as legal counsel and BNP Paribas as financial advisors to FDJ to complete the deal.

The Chairwoman and CEO of the FDJ Group, Stephanie Pallez, was delighted with the operator’s H1 result and the PLI acquisition deal.

“FDJ recorded solid results in the first half of the year, driven by a good increase in stakes in our network of 30,000 points of sale, a sustained dynamic in digital stakes, and the integration of new activities. I am also delighted with the acquisition of Premier Lotteries Ireland, the operator of the Irish national lottery and a long-standing partner in the Euromillions community. Becoming the operator of a foreign lottery marks another major step in the FDJ Group’s international development.”

FDJ has had a strong start to 2023

FDJ recently released its results for the first half of 2023, revealing that it has recorded considerable growth in the first six months of this year, facilitating the acquisition of PLI in July. FDJ’s revenue amounted to almost €1.3 billion in H1 2023, marking a 6.3% increase compared to H1 2022. Its Net Lottery Revenues went up by 1%, standing at €958 million as compared to €805 million the previous year. The operator also recorded a 10% increase in sports betting and online gaming open to competition to €257 million for H1 2023. The total net income of the company showed a 13% increase year-on-year (YoY), standing at €181 million. Its agreement to acquire Premier Lotteries Ireland boosted its growth further, expanding internationally.

The group expects its revenue to grow by another 5% for the rest of the year based on its H1 results. Among other results, the FDJ group’s Public Levies increased by 13% from the previous year and reached €2.04 billion. Its lottery sales crossed €8 billion. The group also recorded a cash surplus of €941 million at the end of June 2023, which has increased from €900 million at the end of December 2022. The group’s financial income also recorded a profit of €19 million as compared to a deficit of €22 million last year.

FDJ highest contributor to ANJ’s 2022 revenue

L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), the French gambling regulator, has recently published its 2022 results. In the results, two giants of the French gambling market, the National Lottery operator Française des Jeux (FDJ) and Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU), were the largest contributors to the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) of the country. The two operators together generated €8.2bn in 2022, contributing to 64% of the country’s total GGR. ANJ believes that this was possible due to the increase in venues since the abolition of COVID-19 protocols in 2022.

According to an ANJ spokesperson, the activity highlighted significant overall growth compared to the previous year. This was primarily due to the reopening of entities that suffered during the pandemic lockdowns. ANJ’s annual report revealed that the FDJ group had grown 8.7% in 2022 compared to 2021. It also stated that the growth was driven mainly by FDJ’s lottery division, which accounted for 80% of the total bets. The FDJ set a new record for cumulative stakes in 2022, which reached €21 million, and the GGR, which was recorded at €6.5 billion.

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Author: Jordan Bennett