01/09/2012 : We're talking technology – not company – acquisition says UK betting giant
British land and online betting giant, Ladbrokes, is negotiating with Irish billionaire Dermot Desmond, the owner of the Betdaq betting exchange, over a "technology" deal to revamp the bookmaker's faltering online business, according to a report over the weekend in the Telegraph newspaper.
The report speculates that the move by Ladbrokes CEO Richard Glynn is a bid to boost the company's internet operations by buying in the pricing and trading skills of an established peer-to-peer betting exchange.
Desmond, who has a stake of about 2 percent in Ladbrokes, set up Betdaq in 2000, though it has been dwarfed by its larger and more publicised rival Betfair.
The newspaper notes that Glynn is under some pressure, having walked away from four online deals since taking over as chief executive in April 2010. These included talks with 888, Playtech and Sportingbet, and pulling out of an auction for Australia's Centrebet.
Approached for comment, a Ladbrokes spokesman denied the bookie might be interested in buying Betdaq itself, valued at more than GBP100 million.
"It's only a discussion about technology supply," he said. "Exchanges have good up-to-the-minute pricing technology." The spokesman added that any deal would be financed from the GBP50 million already set aside for investment in online gambling by Ladbrokes.