The news that the Tasmanian government has started a process to divest itself of the Tasmanian Totehas been followed by a story on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation network that online betting exchange Betfair, which has a joint venture with a major betting group in Australia, may be interested in bidding.
Tasmanian Opposition and Greens Party politicians have reacted angrily to the announcement of the intention to sell, pointing to comments made by state treasurer, Michael Aird late last year that a sale was not planned.
Financial analyst Tom Ellison told ABC that he would expect Tote to fetch up to A$100 million but questioned the government's timing. "It's probably the worst time to try and sell a business considering the global financial situation," he said, adding that a sale to Betfair would make sense.
"Tote already has an agency agreement with Betfair and certainly Betfair would be able to expand some of their Australian operations through Tote," he said, pointing out that Tabcorp is also a potential bidder.