Friday March 8, 2013 : BETFAIR INTERESTED IN BLUESQUARE?
Ailing Rank company could be worth over GBP30 million if it can be sorted out
Insider rumours circulating in London Friday are that online gambling group Betfair is negotiating a deal to acquire Blue Square Bet, a currently ailing online sportsbook subsidiary of Rank Group plc.
Earlier this year Rank indicated it would be prepared to let the enterprise go if it was offered the right price. The company revealed that it was discussing possibilities with several potential suitors, and noted that it would prefer to consolidate and focus its efforts on its casino and bingo brands, Grosvenor Casino and Meccabingo.
InfoPowa readers may recall that Blue Square was the subject of a review by its owners mid-January 2013. Back then a company spokesman said that the sports betting market is highly competitive and Blue Square “…continues to generate an operating loss”.
Rank purchased Blue Square in 2003; the company has approximately 120,000 punters and has been promoted with generous advertising budgets. In October last year a GBP 2 million campaign lifted revenues by around 19 percent.
However, the British government's proposals to tax online gambling companies at the same rate as retail bookies come December 2014 in a switch to a point-of-consumption tax expected to levy 15 percent on gross profits will impose additional costs.
Analysts have predicted that the government’s move will drive smaller operators out of business and lead to further industry consolidation.
Rank is currently in the process of completing a GBP 179 million acquisition of 19 of Gala's 23 land casinos