It’s been quite the few months for the Tote. First off, it was announced earlier this year that the coalition government would be going through with plans to sell off the asset and that it would go to the highest bidder. It was first thought the bidding would be a three-horse race/pay-per-view Triple Threat match between Paddy Power, Larry Ladbrokes, and William Hill. Then we heard that the company who apparently can’t get enough of horse meat (we thought it was a bit…you know…illegal), Sportech, had decided that they wanted a bit more of the horse world to themselves.
An article on Wigantoday.net now seems to suggest there’s a fifth bidder in the game for the Wigan-based company. Betfred’s finance director Barry Nicholson said: “If what the government is looking for is an experienced operator which knows the Tote estate and its customer base well and where there is an obvious cultural and geographic fit, then we will be able to make an excellent case both to racing and to government. Whilst we are both based in the North West, there is almost no local overlap of the estate, integration of the two businesses could be done with minimal disruption. We would be a natural partner for the Tote and for racing.”
This was after Ian Penrose, of Sportech, had already commented that: “We will take a look at it. Conceptually, it would make a lot of sense for us as we are one of the largest tote operators and system providers in the world.”
A deadline of 10 December has been set for anyone who wants to bid for the Tote, valued at approximately £200m.