Third player added to Gala table - Friday 12th of August 2005

Venture capital firm Permira has bought a stake in Gala Casinos for £200m.

The deal, which will see Permira join other finance firms Candover and Cinven as joint owners of Gala, values the Nottingham firm at £1.89bn.

Candover and Cinven bought the company, which operates four bingo chains and 28 UK casinos, for £1.2bn in 2003.

Gala has spent £220m on upgrading its casino and bingo facilities in the past eight years and hopes to exploit deregulation of the gaming industry.

Robust growth

The deal also involves a refinancing of the companys debt.

It has not been revealed how much of a stake in Gala that Permira is taking on, but it is rumoured to be around 30%.

"In the two years since we acquired Gala, the companys organic track record, robust cash flows and further expansion into the casino market has delivered strong investment performance," said Marek Gumienny, managing director of Candover.

"This transaction and a previous refinancing have allowed us to return more than our initial combined investment to our investors whilst retaining a majority stake in the business."

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