Race for Tote hots up

With John Heaton recently confirming his interest in Tote, it has emerged that Goldman Sachs are also attracted by the state-owned betting operator.

Private equity firm Principal Investment, which is part of the investment giant Goldman Sach’s, is said to be prepared to bid around £400 million for the company.
It is also understood that former chief executive John Heaton would be prepared for Interactive Gaming Holdings, his new company, to bid a similar amount.

"I would look at it for IGH if it came on the market," said Heaton on Monday. "We'd need some partners to do that," he added.

In an added twist, it appears as though a racing consortium, which had a bid rejected in September, is ready to come back with an improved offer.

“We've now got the firepower to put something new to the government and to racing," a source said on Monday.

The Government had pledged to sell the business to the racing industry with the intention of the racing industry benefiting as a whole, but the consortium’s initial bid was deemed too low by the European Commission.

With Tote valued at around £400 million by PricewaterhouseCoopers and most prospective bidders willing to match this figure, it will be interesting to see what decision the government makes.

Goldman Sach’s bid may prove enticing to the Government as job losses and restructuring of the business may well be kept to a minimum. A potential sale within the gambling industry may not as be as smooth, with the company likely to be broken up or absorbed.

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2006-11-21 11:43:54

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