European lottery group Allwyn cancels SPAC deal to list on NYSE

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European lottery group Allwyn Entertainment said on Friday it had canceled its deal with a blank check company that would have had its shares listed in New York, citing volatile market conditions.

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

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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.

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Allwyn’s announcement comes the same day private equity firm TPG Inc-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, Greece and Cyprus.

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.” (Reporting by Rhea Binoy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Leslie Adler)


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