04/15/2013 12:30PM

Betfair being eyed by private equity group


A private equity group said Monday it has had discussions with Betfair regarding the possibility of taking the pioneering British exchange-wagering company private.

CVC Capital Partners, which owns Formula One Racing, said in a release that the discussions were “preliminary” and that trading rules for the London Stock Exchange, where Betfair is listed, required the company to make an announcement about its ultimate intentions by the close of business on May 13.

“This announcement is not an announcement of a firm intention to make an offer, and there can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer will be made,” the announcement said.

Betfair, which owns TVG in the U.S., currently has a market capitalization of approximately $1.1 billion. Its stock closed on Monday at approximately $1,196 per share, up $126 following the announcement by CVC.

In the last fiscal year, Betfair had a profit of $52 million on revenue of $596 million, according to financial statements.

Betfair’s exchange-wagering platform is the most popular in the world. The company has sought the authorization to operate in the U.S. by lobbying individual states. Two states, California and New Jersey, have passed legislation legalizing exchange wagering on horse races. The company would need agreements with horsemen to launch an exchange-wagering platform in the states, and, so far, negotiations on an agreement have not yielded any deals.