Betfred buys British Tote for £265m

BRITAIN’S fourth-biggest bookmaker Betfred has won an auction to buy state-owned betting group, the Tote, for £265 million (€302.5m), disappointing the influential horseracing lobby.

Betfred’s triumph over British Airways chairman Martin Broughton’s Sports Investment Partners (SIP) vehicle, announced yesterday, confirmed what sources close to the sale process had told Reuters the previous day.

“Today’s announcement was not our preferred outcome, but we will now work with Betfred and the government to ensure their commitments are delivered upon, both in relation to the Tote and other areas of industry reform,” Paul Roy, chairman of the British Horseracing Authority said on Friday.

The racing industry had favoured proposals from SIP to list the Tote on AIM, giving the industry a 10% stake in the new entity and offering “racing friendly investors” such as owners, breeders, trainers and racecourses a further 25%.

The sale is subject to consultation with employees and is expected to complete in around four to eight weeks’ time, the British Department of Culture, Media and Sport said.

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