April 20, 2018 / 2:57 PM / a month ago

Apollo, Blackstone are the only remaining bidders for Cirsa -sources

MADRID/LONDON (Reuters) - The private equity funds of Blackstone (BX.N) and Apollo (APO.N) are the only two bidders left in the sale of Spanish gaming hall operator Cirsa, raising doubts about whether the sale will go ahead, sources familiar with the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), New York, NY, U.S., April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The sale process is due to wrap up any day now, but Cirsa, which has also explored the possibility of a market listing, is disappointed with so few bids, two of the sources said.

Spokesmen for Apollo and Blackstone and a spokeswoman for Cirsa declined to comment.

Cirsa, based outside Barcelona, is owned by 73-year-old Spanish billionaire Manuel Lao who founded it in 1978. He is ranked by Forbes magazine as Spain’s ninth richest person.

The company operates bingo halls, casinos and slot machines in more than 70 countries and booked earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 398 million euros ($489 million) in 2016, up 5 percent on the previous year.

It issued in 2015 and 2016 two bonds for a total outstanding amount of 950 million euros maturing in 2021 and 2023. [ES140035165=] [ES122758699=]

Last year Reuters reported that Cirsa [CIRSA.UL] had hired investment bank Lazard to explore a possible market listing. [L8N1NS4V3]

(Refiles to fix typo in paragraph 2)

    Editing by Susan Fenton

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