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France Looks to Sell Half of Française des Jeux Lottery Via IPO

A cash-strapped French government is looking to sell off half of the Française des Jeux FDJ lottery via an initial public offering (IPO). It’s part of a major privatization move that could put as much as $ 10 billion Euros ($ 12.8 billion) back in government coffers and constitutes a major shift in Euro government policy towards gambling monopolies.

News of the proposed sale helps fill a campaign promise by French Prime Minister Emanuel Macron to sell off, or privatize, a number of valuable government assets in an effort to raise cash. The sale of half of FDJ is set to be complete by 2019.

Under the terms of the proposal investment bank BNP Paribas and law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP will be responsible for taking about half of the government’s share of FDJ public. The government currently owns about 72 percent of the company, according to a report on the lottery sale by Reuters. When all is said and done, the government would wind up with between 22-25 percent of the shares.

One goal of the post-privatization FDJ would be an increased focus on digital products. Currently, FDJ’s website only accounts for about four percent of its total sales. The company generates another 7.3 percent of its total sales from a series of digital products that are only available at retail-based vendors. FDJ officials are hoping to double the share of digital sales at the company within three years as part of a larger effort to attract younger customers.

With a revenue total of €15.1 billion ($ 18.7 USD), FDJ is Europe’s second largest lottery behind Italy’s Lottomatica.

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