Suitors sweeten up offers for the state-owned Tote

LAST-ditch efforts by the bidders for the Tote, the state-owned bookmaker, have been made, as the government gears up to reveal its preferred offer.

High street bookmaker Betfred has sweetened its offer for the betting pool, after it appeared to have lost out to a bid from former Liverpool Football Club chairman Sir Martin Broughton.

The bookmaker, which owns more than 750 shops, is believed to have raised its offer above £200m – the initial price suggested by both bidders.

Meanwhile, Sir Martin’s Sports Investment Partners is thought to have upped the amount of money it would hand to the taxpayer to above £80m. His bid also has the most support from racing.

An announcement on the sale of the Tote is expected from the government as early as tomorrow.