Online betting firm Sportpesa could be harbouring plans to enlist on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in the first quarter of 2019.

Despite the Sportpesa CEO denying that the firm is planning to go public, Bloomberg reports that SportPesa has already appointed Nairobi-based Kestrel Capital East Africa Ltd. as transaction advisers for the IPO.

Kestrel Executive Director Andre DeSimone declined to comment on the matter, leaving it to speculation.

However, sources well placed in Sportpesa quoted by Bloomberg indicate that plans are rife, and it is only a matter of time before they are actualised.

“SportPesa is a privately owned company and is constantly exploring opportunities that will create value for our stakeholders. As and when appropriate, we will communicate with each of our stakeholders,” responded the firm to the allegations.

Contacted by the Reuters, Karauri remained tight lipped with a ‘no’ as the answer without further details.

Currently, there are only ten known shareholders of Sportpesa.

Out of the ten known shareholders for Sportpesa, there are five Kenyan shareholders having a cumulative of 48% of the shares. There are three Bulgarians with 26% of the total shares and one American with 21% of shares. One company from England holds 5% of shares.

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Here’s the full list of the shareholders:-

  1. Gene Grand (American) -21%
  2. Guerassim Nikolov (Bulgarian) – 21%
  3. Asenath Wacera Maina (Kenyan) – 21%
  4. Paul Wanderi Ndung’u (Kenyan) -17%
  5. Ronald Kamwiko Karauri (Kenyan) – 6%
  6. Cellini Holdings – 5%
  7. Valentina Nikolaeva (Bulgarian) – 3%
  8. Robert Kenn Wanyoike Macharia (Kenyan) – 3%
  9. Ivan Kalpakchiev (Bulgarian) – 2%
  10. Francis Waweru Kiarie (Kenyan) – 1%

In January this year, Sportpesa partner, Pambazuka National Lottery (PNL) withdrew from the Kenyan market after a 35 percent tax was imposed on all gambling firms. Shareholding of PNL still remained obscure till the time of its exit.

It is not clear why Sportpesa could be deciding to going public despite earning more than Ksh100 billion annually.

However, pundits argue that revenue for the firm could be going down due to the increased number of betting firms in the country.

Consequently, this could be a way of trying to rejuvenate business in the country, so as to sustain its multi-billion sponsorship deals in Kenya and England.

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