ECONOMY

Emma Delta’s revised bid for OPAP to reach 710-720 bln euros

The representatives of the Emma Delta consortium bidding for the controlling stake in gaming company OPAP will meet on Thursday with the board of the state privatization fund (TAIPED) and are expected to table a proposal ranging between 710 and 720 million euros, according to sources.

Consultations between the components of the consortium continued up until late last night in a bid to reach a decision on the revised bid, after offering 622 million euros last week plus the state’s dividend for 2012 amounting to another 60 million euros.

The Czech side of the consortium, led by Jiri Smejc, appears to be taking a tougher approach in the negotiations, while its Greek partners seem to have adopted a softer stance. There were even reports of talks between Emma Delta officials and Greek opposition parties.

TAIPED is said to have set a minimum accepted level of 730 million euros to agree to the transaction of the state’s 33 percent stake in the Greek betting monopoly. This is close to the revised offer expected from Emma Delta – the sole bidder left in the tender after the exclusion of Third Point LLC on Monday – but as they say, the devil is in the details.

The TAIPED board meeting that will determine the outcome of the crucial privatization project was set to start at 9.30 this morning, with most people being optimistic for a deal and a swift announcement to confirm it.

Yesterday Reuters reported that behind Emma Delta are investment companies from Russia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The participation of Italy’s Lottomatica is not certain, despite the widespread rumors.

Greek entrepreneur Christos Copelouzos is expected to form part of the Greek side of the consortium, led by Giorgos Melissanidis, so as not to diminish the 67 percent stake of the Czech and Russian side.