Picture: TSOGO SUN
Picture: TSOGO SUN

Alternative gaming group Niveus still hopes to sew up a deal to sell its alternative gaming assets by the end of this month – despite the proposed transaction now requiring approval by the competition authorities.

At a general meeting on Thursday Niveus shareholders — other than major shareholder Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) – voted in favour of selling its gaming investments in the limited payout machine and electronic bingo terminal sectors to gaming and leisure company Tsogo Sun.

HCI is also the biggest shareholder in Tsogo Sun, hence the company’s recusal from voting at the Niveus meeting.

Earlier this week Business Day reported that the proposed transaction between Niveus and Tsogo was under threat, with the Competition Tribunal ruling that the deal must secure approval from the competition authorities. The proposed deal has already been a prolonged affair and was first mooted almost a year ago.

Speaking after the meeting, Niveus chairman Johnny Copelyn said the company was still satisfied the proposed deal did not require a submission to the competition authorities.

"We [HCI] control both Niveus and Tsogo … and effectively the companies are merged under the control of HCI. The competition authorities don’t see life our way … but we are still sure we can conclude the deal by September 29."

If the deal is finalised, Niveus will be left with its controlling stake in unlisted investment company La Concorde (formerly KWV Holdings) as well as smaller operating assets, including a fledgling sports betting venture.

It is likely that HCI will make an offer to buy out La Concorde shareholders, or offer them a chance to remain in the unlisted company. It is also likely HCI will buy out minority shareholders in Niveus and delist the company.

Niveus has been one of the unsung success stories on the JSE. The company was spun out of HCI in 2012 at a price of about R7 a share. The share is now worth about R40.

Chris Logan of Opportune Investments complimented CEO Andre van der Veer on building substantial shareholder value.

"It seems what Andre has done for the alternative gaming industry is what Viv Imerman [who acquired KWV’s liquor assets from La Concorde in 2016] is doing for the brandy sector," he said.

hasenfussm@fm.co.za

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