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Gala Bingo parent may get lifeline from Blackstone

  • 21 Nov 09
  • Written by Charlotte Widmore

Gala BingoBingo Hideout have been following the Gala Bingo parent debt restructure news stories that have been circulating for months now with interest.  It appears now after much wrangling that the hopes of the parent company Gala Coral to restructure the reported £2bn of debt may soon be realised, with news that Blackstone have agreed in principle to a deal and are now in the process of completing the due diligence to allow the proposed agreement to move forward.

A report by the Telegraph in the early hours of this morning, states that Blackstone are prepared to make a cash injection of in the region of £300m in exchange for a majority share.  If the article in the Telegraph is correct then this deal would see the New York private equity firm effectively taking control of not only Gala Bingo but the rest of the Gala Coral group. Blackstone themselves are doing huge amounts of deals at the moment, some recent reports include a $1.3bn Birds Eye deal and interest in a buy out  of Matalan for £1bn.

Bingo Hideout hasreported many times over the past months of Gala Bingo’s struggle to compete in such a competitive market with such a huge debt round its neck.  The deal with Blackstone would hopefully stop the stranglehold that their existing loan has over the whole Gala Coral group.  Bingo Hideout was recently granted an interview with Chairman Neil Goulden, during the interview  we managed to discuss Gala’s hopes for the future and of their wish to restructure their debt.  Mr Goulden stated in the no holds barred interview that a restructure would hopefully allow the company to free up cash and would ultimately allow Gala to “grow the business”.

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