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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Alamy Stock Photo The takeover will mean that for the first time there will be no state ownership in the National Lottery.

National Lottery operator to be bought by French gambling company for €350m

Française des Jeux has agreed to purchase the Lotto operator, Premier Lotteries Ireland, for €350 million.

FRENCH GAMBLING COMPANY Française des Jeux (FDJ) has agreed to purchase the operator of the National Lottery, Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), for €350 million from its three main shareholders.

The French gaming company announced it had signed the agreement to purchase the operator alongside its 6-month financial report yesterday. PLI were awarded a 20-year licence to operate the National Lottery in 2014.

FDJ said the take over of PLI – from its three main shareholders;  Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan from Canada, An Post and An Post Pension Fund – should take place in the second half of this year, subject to regulatory approvals. 

The takeover will mean that, for the first time since its conception, there will be no state ownership in the National Lottery since it was privatised in 2014, as An Post leave its minor shareholder position (20%).

The National Lottery welcomed it announcement and assured customers that games will run as normal and that the acquisition will not impact its charitable ‘Good Causes’ scheme.

“The Irish National Lottery is and will continue to be, owned by the Irish State for the benefit of Good Causes, regulated by the Regulator of the National Lottery and operated by Premier Lotteries Ireland DAC,” it said in statement.

It was reported that the main shareholder of PLI, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, announced it were looking to exit the Irish market in March of this year. The Canadian investing giant acquired PLI in 2014 for a report €405 million in 2014 when the operator was granted its licence.

The group is one of the largest international institutional investors. Managing director Iñaki Echave thanked An Post and PLI for their partnership over the nine years in a statement welcoming the acquisition yesterday.

“We also care about entrusting the company to the right new owner and believe that a highly reputed international, like-minded lottery company as FDJ is well positioned to help PLI continue its success story,” Echave added.

An Post yesterday said it welcomed the sale of the PLI to FDJ with An Post CEO and National Lottery Director, David McRedmond, adding the successful bid was “a positive outcome for Ireland and for the National Lottery”.

We wish FDJ every success with this important business,” McRedmond added.

Chair of PLI Vivienne Jupp thanked the shareholders for their work and welcomed the bid from FDJ.

Jupp added that PLI “looks forward to the next chapter of growth” with FDJ and hopes it can continue to “operate a responsible, world-class lottery for the people of Ireland”.

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