Gaming firm Betfair calls off CVC talks at the eleventh hour

BETFAIR called off talks last night over a sale of the online gaming company, after rejecting a second takeover bid from private equity firm CVC Capital.

The company’s board said discussions had broken down, just hours after it gave the private equity firm a 24-hour extension in which to come up with a new offer.

CVC, which was working with Betfair shareholders Richard Koch and Antony Ball, made a 950p-per-share bid for the company on Sunday evening. The offer valued Betfair at £985m, and was an eight per cent increase on an 880p-per-share bid rejected last month.
Yesterday afternoon, the Betfair board extended a takeover deadline until 5pm today, but last night it announced that talks had broken down and that it had rejected the 950p-per-share bid.

The news is likely to send shares in the company down in trading this morning. The share price has risen substantially since mid-April when bid speculation began.

“The board has spent considerable time assessing the various proposals, including detailed discussions with the co-offerors,” Betfair chairman Gerald Corbett said. “The board concluded that none of the proposals represented adequate value or acceptable execution risk.”