European lottery group Allwyn cancels SPAC deal to list on NYSE

European lottery group Allwyn Entertainment – which controls a 48.1% stake in Greek gaming and lottery company OPAP – said on Friday it had canceled its deal with a blank check company that allegedly saw its New York-listed shares, citing volatile market conditions.

Allwyn entered into a merger agreement with blank check company Cohn Robbins Holdings in January, bringing the combined company’s enterprise value to approximately $9.3 billion at the time.

Investor appetite for these blank check companies, also known as special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), has cooled over the past year due to tighter regulations, rising interest rates interest and falling public market valuations.

Allwyn’s announcement comes the same day private equity firm TPG-backed SPAC decided to halt operations, also citing market volatility.

In a statement, Allwyn said he remained committed to listing his shares and expanding his business in the United States, but said he would wait for more favorable terms.

Allwyn, known as Sazka Entertainment until last year, operates lotteries in the Czech Republic, Italy, Austria and Cyprus in addition to Greece.

Cohn Robbins, created by Gary Cohn, former economic adviser to former US President Donald Trump, and investor Clifton Robbins, raised $828 million from investors in September 2020.

In a statement, Gary Cohn and Clifton Robbins noted that their partnership with Allwyn was announced in January, but “a pronounced negative turn in market psychology” has been seen since then.

While praising Allwyn’s leadership, they said: “Nevertheless, the persistently volatile and negative market conditions led to our mutual decision with Allwyn not to proceed with the closing of the transaction.” [Reuters, Ekathimerini]

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