Interest in Tote swells

As the attention in the state-owned bookmaker increases, John Heaton has announced that he may be interested in bidding for Tote if it went to auction.

There has also been recent strong interest from Gala, announcing they would be willing to pay up to £405m for Tote’s complete operation. However, many insiders suggest that the Government would prefer to sell to within the racing industry, thus benefiting the industry on the whole. But there remain doubts whether any parties within the industry can match the valuation.

Heaton, who now runs Interactive Gaming holdings, left Tote for the potential that IGH presented and was especially eager to expand its online presence and has recently signed a deal with NS Sports expanding ICH into the Balearic market.

However, ICH is unlikely to have the power to bid for Tote on its own so any future bid would need to be a joint venture. Although a bid from Heaton is pure conjecture at the moment, it will be interesting to see how the Government respond to a future bid from their old boss.

John Heaton was the boss of Tote from 1996 to 2004 and was responsible for seeing a doubling of profits and the introduction of its online betting operations.

Editor, - 2006-11-08 11:21:31

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