Betfred scrambles to woo racing execs

HIGH street bookmaker Betfred has launched a last-minute scramble to win racing industry support for its bid to buy the Tote, the state-backed bookmaker.

The gaming firm has stepped up its bid by offering to create an advisory board for the Tote, with seats for racing industry executives.

Betfred is seen as the straggler in the race to buy the government-owned turf accountant to a bid from Sir Martin Broughton, the former Liverpool Football Club Chairman.

The “Tote Development Board” being wagered by the firm would comprise of senior executives from the major racecourse groups, an elected representative from the independent course and a senior racing director from the Tote.

Betfred is offering the panel, which would help to bring the commercial future of Tote in line with racing industry desires, in order to allay concerns the bookmaker has the best interests of racing at heart.

Fears had been raised that the betting firm was solely interested in the Tote for its 517 shops and portfolio of 840 premises.

The racing industry has already come out in vocal support for Sir Martin’s Sport Investments Partners (SIP) bid.

Several heavyweight industry groups, including the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen’s Group, have pledged to support his offer.

“This new body gives racing a direct voice at the table to influence the commercialisation and development of the Tote and will also enable Betfred to benefit from the experience and knowledge of those who run the racecourses,” said Betfred chief financial officer Barry Nightingale.

“It will be a tight forum for decision making and, consistent with our overall strategy for the Tote and for racing, it aligns common interests,” he added.

A decision on the future of the Tote is expected from the government as early as this week.

BETFRED

STAKE
SELECTIONS
TIME & MEETING
TOTE ADVISORY BOARD
Seats for racecourse executives on a steering panel for the future commercial direction of the Tote.

INSTANT CASH DEAL
Betfred has the money lined up and ready to pay the government for the Tote. The Treasury could be keen on a quick sale to fix the nation’s battered finances.

RACING CASH PLEDGE
£11m guaranteed to be ploughed back into the racing industry in the first year of Betfred’s ownership and then a minimum of £9m for the next two years. The firm is offering the cash for the next seven years of the lease it would win for the Tote.

TOTAL OFFER
£200m

SPORT INVESTMENT PARTNERS

STAKE
SELECTIONS
TIME & MEETING
STOCK MARKET FLOAT
Sir Martin Broughton would float the Tote on the AIM market in order to fund his purchase and the future of the business.

BOARD SEATS
The public structure of the company would enable Sir Martin to offer racing industry executives seats on the board of the company to decide its future.

PRIVATE EQUITY
To allay concerns over the difficulty of raising equity on the AIM market, SIP has got backing from private equity house Oakley Capital.

RACING CASH PLEDGE
£11m per year to racing in perpetuity.

TOTAL OFFER
£200m