Reuters – CVC Mulls Betfair Takeover Bid

CVC Capital Partners is in talks about making a takeover offer for the British online gambling firm Betfair, writes Reuters. CVC said it had held preliminary discussions with investors Richard Koch, Antony Ball and other partners about Betfair, which could include an offer for the firm by funds advised by CVC together with the two men and partners, writes Reuters.

Reuters – CVC Capital Partners, the private equity firm that owns Formula One, said it was in talks about making a takeover offer for the British online gambling firm Betfair.

CVC on Monday said it had held preliminary discussions with investors Richard Koch, Antony Ball and other partners about Betfair, which could include an offer for the firm by funds advised by CVC together with the two men and partners.

Koch, a co-founder of international strategy consultancy LEK Consulting, holds a 6.5 percent stake in Betfair. Ball is a non-executive director at Luxembourg-listed investment group Brait and is the co-founder of its private equity business.

Betfair, which operates an online exchange that allows gamblers to bet against each other, declined to comment on CVC’s statement when contacted by Reuters.

Shares in Betfair have risen 6 percent in the last three months, but they are still trading at almost half the group’s 2010 listing price. The stock closed on Friday at 699.5 pence, valuing the company at just over 725 million pounds ($1.11 billion).

Betfair has been losing market share in Britain where the online gambling sector is highly competitive in recent months. Many analysts believe the company has suffered from failing to identify clearly if it regarded itself as a gambling or a technology company.

Betfair is in the process of pulling back from markets providing almost a quarter of its revenues to focus on areas where gambling regulations are clearly defined in a bid to reduce uncertainty and volatility for its investors.

The firm recently said it would pull out of Germany and Greece because of problems over licences and punitive tax rates.