The Alizeti consortium of racehorse owners and breeders reached an agreement to purchase a share of the Tote from Fred Done, founder and CEO of Betfred, who acquired the Tote from the UK government in 2011.
As part of the agreement, the consortium has taken an initial 25% stake with an option to purchase 100% in the future. The deal, worth up to £150 million ($201 million), aims to secure the future of the Tote and its pivotal role in British horse racing.
The Alizeti deal, spearheaded by racehorse owner and breeder Alex Frost, will allow the group of racehorse owners to continue the work by Fred Done and his team and assist in modernizing and transforming the Tote's role in British horse racing for the public and all stakeholders.
The announcement received backing from industry heavyweights such as leading trainer John Gosden and the Racehorse Owners Association.
"Following the purchase of the Tote in 2011, we have striven relentlessly to both expand the business and maintain our promises to government in respect of jobs and direct contribution to racing," Done said. "Looking beyond our exclusive license expiring in July, I am convinced we will have an extremely strong business, which is further boosted by this partnership deal. Alex and his team's enthusiasm for racing coupled with their excellent vision for the future of the UK Tote is most impressive. It is for this reason I am delighted to join with Alizeti in moving the Tote forward to the next exciting chapter in its history."
"Fred has achieved incredible things in the industry," Frost said. "He has delivered on all his promises regarding contributions to racing and securing jobs. I am tremendously excited about our shared vision for a truly iconic brand within the sport of horse racing and for where the Tote can go next—both domestically and on a global stage.
"Our supporters are dedicated racing people who, collectively, own and train more than 1,000 racehorses worldwide—and we're excited and determined to work together for the Tote. This is a defining moment for the future funding structure of British racing. We want the Tote to help secure racing's finances for generations to come, and I'm looking forward to sharing our progress with race fans about new products and technologies in due course."
The consortium of racehorse owners will bring a team of cross-industry experts to the Tote. Frost, who was one of the youngest managing directors at Merrill Lynch, sits on the board at Epsom Downs Racecourse. Chairman Eamonn Wilmott is a former board member of the British Horseracing Association and pioneer of advanced racing technologies such as in-running software platform Total Performance Data. Chief marketing and brand officer Andy Hobsbawm is a veteran of digital marketing and cloud data platforms and an inaugural member of the British Interactive Media Association's Hall of Fame and Wired UK Top 100.
"The Tote is one of British racing's most cherished brands, and to see it revitalized to reach its past heights would be fantastic for the sport," Gosden said. "This is absolutely the right team to make this happen. I am confident they can unite all stakeholders to help the industry at a time when it needs it most."
As part of the stated mission to bring the industry together, positive discussions have been ongoing for some time to partner with Britbet for a single UK pool betting solution powered by the Tote.
"Ascot has always believed in the strength of a united pool for the benefit of customers and racecourses," Frost said. "We are delighted to help develop the original partnership they formed with Totepool."