It is (officially) gone for privatization


The headquarters of the Francaise des Jeux, or FDJ, in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris. – Christophe Ena / AP / SIPA

The Francaise des Jeux has launched Friday the countdown for its privatization, announcing that
the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) approved its basic document, the first formal step towards its IPO on 7 November. "With this privatization project, it is a new page in the history of our company that opens", said in a statement Stephane Pallez, CEO of the operator of games owned 72% by
the State.

This approval "constitutes the first step of the privatization of FDJ through an IPO on the regulated Euronext market in Paris. The definitive completion of this transaction is subject to the approval by the AMF of the prospectus relating to the transaction and favorable market conditions, "the group said. In mid-October, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire had announced that private investors as the general public could subscribe shares between November 7 and 20.

One billion euros expected

The government wants to draw "more than one billion euros" from this privatization, said recently Stephane Pallez. In 2018, the FDJ, the second largest European lottery and fourth in the world, earned 15.8 billion euros in bets, an increase of 4.4% over one year and 28% in four years. The state will continue to receive the full amount of tax and social revenue paid by la Francaise des Jeux, some 3.5 billion euros a year.

"For individuals, subject to validation by the Autorite des marches financiers, one free share will be granted for ten shares purchased, if these shares are kept for 18 months. I also want a discount of 2% on the price of the purchased share is applied ", said Bruno Le Maire. In addition, 10% will automatically return to the operator's employees.

The Pact Act, passed in April and which paved the way for a large asset transfer program, authorized the transfer to the private sector of a majority stake in the gaming operator, while the state will remain a minority shareholder in height of 20% minimum.

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