Monday April 15,2013 : INVESTMENT FIRM INTERESTED IN ACQUIRING BETFAIR
Private equity group that owns Formula One racing considers making an offer
The major UK private equity group, CVC Capital Partners, is seriously considering making a bid to acquire online betting exchange Betfair, according to reports late Saturday on Sky News.
The well-connected City editor of the television broadcaster, Mark Kleinman, cites insider sources on his report that CVC, which owns Formula One racing and has investments in Virgin Active and Madame Tussauds, is in the early stages of considering a bid to take Betfair private.
Apparently CVC has not yet approached the board of Betfair, and has yet to line up financing for a bid.
There has been much speculation of late on possible acquisition moves on Betfair by a variety of potential suitors, driving the battling company's share price upward. However, too great a surge in the price of its stock spurred by the news of CVC's interest could discourage the investment giant from progressing its plans, an insider warned.
CVC has remained silent on its intentions, saying that it does not comment on market rumours. Betfair spokesmen similarly declined to comment on speculative reports.
Betfair founders Andrew Black and Edward Wray still hold around 20 percent of Betfair stock and could be key to any takeover initiatives. Other major stake holders include Balderton Capital and the Japanese company Softbank.
"Betfair floated at GBP13-a-share, but its poor post-listing performance left investors nursing significant losses, making it one of a series of prominent companies….to suffer a slump in its value after launching an initial public offering," Kleinman reports, noting the departure of a string of senior executives at Betfair and the troubled times the company has gone through.
The current CEO, Breon Corcoran, an experienced executive from gambling group Paddy Power, joined the company late last year (see previous InfoPowa reports) and has been busy cutting costs, withdrawing from problematic or unprofitable markets, focusing on core business and cleaning house.
He has said he is concentrating on operating in regulated markets and trying to recover the battling online poker fortunes of the company.