International edition
June 21, 2021

A flotation would enable to pursue a consolidation strategy within the industry

Betfair IPO moves closer with Morgan Stanley director hire

(UK).- Betfair has hired Morgan Stanley director Mark Brooker as head of strategy, the first of a series of hires to prepare the British betting exchange for flotation. The company confirmed Brooker’s hire but refused to comment further. However, eGaming Review has learnt from other sources that Betfair has hosted a series of meetings with leading institutional investment houses including Fidelity and Gartmore.

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etfair is in the process of appointing a corporate communications team from a short-list of financial PR firms in the City, sources have confirmed, and as was reported in the media in January, Betfair had selected two advisers – Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley – to advise on its options for the potential us$ 2.3 billion flotation.

In an exclusive interview in the April issue of eGaming Review, Betfair co-founder Andrew Black confirmed that investors in the business were keen that a liquidity event happens in the near future. “I think the investor base collectively would want us to make money available to them at some point and we have an obligation to do that,” he said.

Black continued: “We do have people who are saying ‘well, hang on a sec, I think you guys have done a great job, I’m pretty happy I invested in you, but actually I’ve been sitting here waiting for my money back and you haven’t given it to me; and while I’m pleased that you’ve grown my little investment into something quite meaningful I would like to get my hands on the dosh’.”

Black and co-founder Ed Wray own a combined 25% stake in the business. Japanese bank SoftBank bought a 23% share in the business in a 2006 deal that valued the business at us$ 2.3 billion. The company has a number of other smaller shareholders, including Balderton Capital (formerly Benchmark Capital), which retained a 7% stake following the Softbank deal. A flotation is likely to enable the business to pursue a consolidation strategy within the industry.

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