£400m Tote sale on brink of collapse?

The cancellation of a meeting between the sports minister Richard Caborn and the Treasury’s chief secretary Stephen Timms has thrown yet more doubts over the sale of the Tote, the state-owned bookmaker.

The cancellation is the latest setback in a long line of delays that have blighted the proposed sale of the Tote. The meeting was thought to have been set up in an attempt to revive the waning sale.

However, sources close to developments said it was simply down to a “diary clash” though there is little hope a new meeting could be rescheduled soon.

The proposed £400 million sale of the Tote to a consortium made up of the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), the Racecourse Association (RCA) and current Tote management and staff, has come under much criticism with the government having serious doubts over the way the deal would be funded.

It has been revealed that the consortium’s bid is being funded by a £350 million loan from Lloyds Bank and a £50 million pay-in-kind note from Lloyds Development Capital. This has left many experts doubting how the sale would benefit the racing industry if the Tote was so heavily laden with debt.

However, there is even unrest within the consortium with RCA chairman David Thorpe unconvinced by the business plans of Trevor Beaumont, current Tote chief executive, terming them “particularly unexciting”.

Nevertheless, Mr Beaumont is expected to reveal a rise in operating profits from £23.4 million to £30 million for last year, hitting back at critics who have doubted his management team.

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2007-04-20 11:07:28

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