Sportingbet in talks to buy its Australian rival

ONLINE gaming firm Sportingbet is in advanced talks to buy Australian peer Centrebet in a £117m all-share deal.

The British firm is considering a bid of A$2 (60p) per share, although said there was no certainty a transaction would be completed.

Any purchase of Centrebet, which is Australia’s fourth-largest online gambling firm, would be dependent on Sportingbet raising the funds to take it over.

One option for Sportingbet could be to sell about £125m of stock to fund the offer, according to reports.

The firm, led by Andrew McIver, said it expected the acquisition to add to its earnings in the first full-year post integration.

The deal would also give the firm greater exposure in Australia, diversifying its geographical income from regulated markets.

Family-owned Centrebet has been searching for a buyer in recent months, and said in March that it had received a number of proposals from interested bidders.

Sportingbet’s purchase would follow UK-based rival Paddy Power in consolidating the Australian gambling market, after the firm purchased a controlling stake in Aussie peer Sportsbet in the middle of last year.

ADVISER: ORIEL SECURITIES

EMMA GRIFFIN

ORIEL SECURITIES

ORIEL Securities is the adviser to Sportingbet on its deal talks with Australian online gambling peer Centrebet.

Emma Griffin is leading the team of advisers from the boutique firm, and is joined by Jonathan Walker and Ashton Clanfield on the deal.

Griffin is also leading Oriel’s advisory work with DTZ, the real estate firm currently fielding takover interest.

The reputation of Oriel Securities has grown since it was established as a boutique investment bank and brokerage in 2002. In 2009, it completed the £220m stock market float of Max Property Group, and has worked on several other equity raisings.

Advising Centrebet is Greenhill Caliburn, the Australian division of Wall Street investment bank Greenhill.

Bryan Pearson is leading the team from Greenhill Caliburn. He joined the firm in 2008 from CIBC World Markets in London.