In a strategic move that reshapes the landscape of the Irish National Lottery, renowned French lottery operator La Française des Jeux (FDJ) has inked an agreement to acquire Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI). The deal, valued at €350 million, entails FDJ acquiring the exclusive rights to operate the Irish National Lottery until 2034. This acquisition marks FDJ's expansion into the Irish market and introduces significant changes to the lottery's ownership structure.
FDJ's acquisition encompasses the entirety of Premier Lotteries Ireland's capital, including the stakes held by its current shareholders. Notably, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), An Post, and An Post Pension Fund, which collectively hold the reins of PLI, will divest their interests as part of this transaction.
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan initially acquired Premier Lotteries Ireland back in 2014 for €405 million. This pivotal deal granted a 20-year licensing period, during which PLI managed the operations of the Irish National Lottery. An Post and An Post Pension Funds retained a minority share, maintaining their involvement as junior partners.
However, the current acquisition alters the dynamics of ownership considerably. With the completion of the deal, the Irish National Lottery will continue to be owned by the Irish State, but the operation and management will now be under FDJ's purview. This transition also marks a historic shift, as it signifies the end of state involvement in the National Lottery for the first time since its inception.
Approval by the Regulator of the National Lottery remains a crucial step in finalising the sale. The regulatory review process is expected to examine the terms of the acquisition to ensure that it adheres to industry standards and benefits all stakeholders.
Vivienne Jupp, Chair of Premier Lotteries, commented on the development, stating,
"PLI has moved from strength to strength since winning the license for the Irish National Lottery. I would like to thank Ontario Teachers’ and An Post for their support in building PLI into a leading European operator in the period since 2014’’. During that time, the team at PLI has delivered for good causes and the community looks forward to the next chapter of growth, where we will be able to share best practices with FDJ and continue to operate a responsible world-class lottery for the people of Ireland’’.
Stephanie Pallez, FDJ CEO, commented:
’I am 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’’.
‘’This transaction is perfectly aligned with our international development strategy and our historical core business. It will enable FDJ to continue to grow while remaining true to its recreational responsible and redistributive gaming model. We are looking forward to working together, taking the most of all collaboration opportunities’’.
FDJ recently also announced a 6.3% year-on-year increase in H1 of 2023 revenue to €1.3 billion and a net profit rise of 13.5% to €181 million. However, the company also recently posted a 2.7% downturn in recurring EBITDA to €300 million.
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