Novalpina Capital Founder & Partner Stephen Peel
(Novalpina Capital Founder & Partner Stephen Peels)

Novalpina buys Romania’s Maxbet


Independent European private equity firm Novalpina Capital acquired MaxBet, the most important player in the Romanian gambling industry. According to local media reports citing sources, the transaction would amount to more than 250 million euro.

Following the acquisition, MaxBet Romania will benefit from the expertise and experience of Novalpina Capital, which has a strong presence in multiple fields of activity, such as healthcare, B2B, software and gambling.

The Romanian group also plans to open new locations and strengthen its leadership position.

“We want to innovate and to expand both geographically and digitally. This transaction coincides with new investments that allow us to continue to grow. Belonging to such a strong group will bring strategic support and capital. Investments will not be limited to opening up new locations, but also to create added value by improving customer experience in MaxBet game rooms and employee specialization.” MaxBet Romania CEO Ioana Bazavan said.

“We are talking about substantial investments to grow a company in a sustainable, responsible way. We will continue to pay attention and invest in the success of the programs run by the Responsible Gambling Association, focusing on education and the prevention of gambling addiction” she added.

Established in 2002, Maxbet Romania is active in the slot machine industry and has over 1,400 employees and 117 locations in 15 cities. In 2019, the Group had a turnover of 133 million euros.

London-based Novalpina Capital focuses on making control equity investments in middle market companies throughout the continent. The firm was established by former British Olympic rower Stephen Peel, Stefan Kowski and Bastian Lueken in 2017.

The Founding Partners bring combined experience of 48 years in private equity investing, including senior positions in the European operations of leading global private equity investment firms, and have a shared history of working together for nearly a decade.

Prior to founding Novalpina, from 1997 to 2014, Peel was a partner at TPG, one of the largest global private investment firms. During his investment career at TPG, he invested, managed, grew and turned around businesses in over 15 different countries. Prior to TPG, Peel was at Goldman Sachs from 1989 to 1997 where, as a member of the Principal Investment Area, he was an early pioneer of the cross border European buyout industry.

Kowski was a senior executive at Centerbridge Partners, and Lueken led the European investment business at Platinum Equity.

Novalpina’s most prominent deal to date was the acquisition in 2019 of a stake in NSO Group, a  surveillance equipment firm which has drawn controversy over the use of its technology. In the US, NSO Group is being sued by WhatsApp following allegations its software was used to target app users. It denies the claim.

Novalpina’s other deals have included Laboratoire XO, a pharmaceuticals company, and Olympic Entertainment Group, a gaming business.