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February 20, 2019

Speculation rife on SportPesa NSE listing as CEO denies claims

SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri at a past event in Nairobi. /FILE
SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri at a past event in Nairobi. /FILE

Betting firm SportPesa plans to list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in the first quarter of next year.

This may see it rank among 10 biggest companies on the exchange if the Initial Public Offer (IPO) goes on as planned.

Bloomberg reported that the listing would be the first in Nairobi since August 2016, when clothing retailer Deacons East Africa began trading.

SportPesa is said to have appointed Nairobi-based Kestrel Capital East Africa Limited as transaction advisers for the IPO.

When asked for comment, SportPesa said: "We are constantly exploring opportunities that will create value for our stakeholders."

"We will communicate when appropriate."

However, chief executive Ronald Karauri told Reuters on Thursday that the firm does not plan to go public.

He said "no", without offering further comments. News agency Bloomberg cited unnamed sources.

But a source in the market told Reuters there had been conversations between SportPesa and Nairobi-based Kestrel Capital on a potential transaction.

Details of the talks or the sort of transaction envisaged were not available by press time. 

Andre DeSimon, the managing director of Kestrel, declined to comment when Reuters contacted him.

In April, SportPesa signed new partnership agreements, albeit of lower amounts than before, with four football entities in the country.

The betting firm is the main sponsor of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards and the title sponsor of the Kenyan Premier League - now SportPesa Premier League.

Gor Mahia was to get Sh198,607,000, AFC Sh156,406,403 and KPL Sh259,712,000 for three years.

Read: SportPesa signs new Sh682.4 million deals with Kenya football clubs

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This story has been updated

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