Broughton bid closes on Tote

SIR Martin Broughton, the former chairman of Liverpool Football Club, appeared last night to be pulling ahead in the race to buy the Tote, the state-owned bookmaker.

It emerged yesterday that Sir Martin’s Sport Investments Partners (SIP) has secured private equity backing to fully underwrite his bid for the Tote, as well as renewed support from the racing industry.

The development will allay concerns that his bid lacks the financial clout required by the government from bidders.

Private equity house Oakley Capital will guarantee funding for the SIP bid in the event that a planned stock market listing fails to raise sufficient capital.

Support from a powerful horseracing lobby group and Conservative MP Matt Hancock, a close ally of chancellor George Osborne, also appeared to have handed SIP victory over Betfred.

The British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen’s Group pledged to support Sir Martin’s offer.

“SIP’s bid is a good deal for the government, while providing the best solution for racing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Betfred said it remained confident its bid offered the “best solution” for the Tote.