Gala Group acquires Riva Clubs for £90m

The UK's leading bingo and leisure company today announces the acquisition of Riva Clubs from Natwest Equity Partners.

The Riva purchase is Gala Club's third acquisition since it was formed after a management buy-in from Bass in 1997.

Riva reported sales of £52m and admissions of 5.5m, in the year to October 1999.

Gala and its chief backer CSFB Private Equity – which last month bought Gala from a syndicate of equity investors for £400m – want to consolidate Britain's fragmented bingo industry.

“The bingo industry continues to be one of the most fragmented within the leisure sector,” says John Kelly, chief executive of Gala Clubs.

“Our acquisition of Riva will establish Gala as the clear leader in the UK market and enable us to commit the necessary investment to exploit the growing opportunities in traditional gaming, e-gaming and Internet platforms going forward.”

For Richard Winckles, managing director of CSFB Private Equity, the acquisition follows “our agreed strategy to back the Gala management in building a significant gaming and leisure business in the UK.”

The sale represents a £41m capital gain for Natwest Equity Partners and other members of the syndicate that acquired Riva in a buy-out from First Leisure in February 1998.