Private Equity Firm Eyes Betfair Takeover

Private Equity Firm Eyes Betfair Takeover
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Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners acknowledged Monday, April 15, that it is considering purchasing Betfair, the world's largest betting exchange.

Besides operating the largest betting exchange, Betfair also owns the U.S.-based pari-mutuel advance-deposit wagering site and racing channel TVG. Betfair also would like to offer exchange wagering on horse racing in states where it is approved.

CVC Capital Partners, which owns Formula One, said it has had preliminary discussions with Betfair investors about the company, which is traded on the London Stock Exchange.

"CVC keeps a wide range of opportunities under regular review, and confirms that it has had preliminary discussions with Richard Koch, Antony Ball, and partners regarding options in respect of Betfair, which could include an offer for Betfair by funds advised by CVC together with Richard Koch, Antony Ball, and partners," CVC said in an April 15 release. "This announcement is not an announcement of a firm intention to make an offer ... and there can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer will be made."

CVC said trading rules require Betfair to make an announcement one way or another on any offer by 5 p.m. May 13, although that deadline could be extended.

Betfair is interested in offering exchange wagering on horse races in the U.S. in states that allow the wagering form. California appears to be the furthest along toward allowing such wagers, which allow individuals to offer and accept set odds for a small transaction fee. In other countries, Betfair offers exchange wagering on many sports, including horse racing. With the company's stock rising, Betfair chairman Gerald Corbett painted a bright future.

"With our new team now in place and the announcement of a more focused strategy in December, I believe Betfair is currently going through one of the most exciting phases in its development," Corbett said in an April 15 release. "Our management team is actively implementing the new business plan for the company and we remain fully committed to delivering on the new strategy and providing improved returns for our shareholders."

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