Reports which first surfaced in the UK's Sunday Telegraph newspaper this weekend indicate that most of the principal shareholders in Britain's national lottery organiser Camelot are interested in selling their stakes in the company, which has operated the lottery since 1994 on a mandate from the British government. Camelot renewed its mandate for a further ten years in 2007.
Quoting company spokespersons, the newspaper opined that the shareholders were looking for buyers, with a foreign or private equity-led takeover of Camelot likely.
Yahoo! carried the story, too, reporting that currency printer De La Rue and Japanese information technology firm Fujitsu were both considering selling their 20 percent stakes, which it estimated were each worth GBP 80 million.
The Telegraph identified other 20-percent shareholders as the British confectionery group Cadbury and French aerospace group Thales, but said that Britain's Royal Mail would not be selling its stake and planned to keep its 20 percent interest.
A Camelot spokesman said the issue was one for the shareholders, and declined to comment further.
A spokeswoman for Thales said: "The four shareholders have informed Camelot's board that, should a sale process result from this review, this would be subject to achieving an acceptable price for their shareholdings." She coinfirmed that the Royal Mail would be holding on to its shares and was not part of the process, implying that 80 percent of Camelot would thus be available for sale.
Any incoming shareholder would have to be approved by Camelot's regulator, the National Lottery Commission. Camelot has raised around GBP 22 billion for worthy UK causes during its mandate.