BUSINESS

Stanley Ho gives money away; Sportech profit drop; bwin.party…ladbrokes?

TAGs: bwinparty, Ladbrokes, pwin, SJM Holdings, Sportech, stanley ho

After a long public squabble in which Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho accused family members of stealing his money, Ho has decided to give all his money to his family. (Isn’t this where we came in?) Of Ho’s 31.6% stake in Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM), the parent of Asia’s largest casino company SJM Holdings, fourth wife (and STDM director) Angela Leong On Kei will receive 6%, while other as yet unidentified family members will split 25.538%. Stanley himself will hang on to the remaining 0.117%, because even an 89-year-old needs some walking around money. SJM’s shares rose sharply on news of the asset transfer, which a spokesman said would have “no effect on the company and there will be no change in management of strategic direction.”

Liverpool-based Sportech’s £51.4m acquisition of US parimutuel/tote outfit Scientific Games Racing (SGR) is being blamed for a 20% drop in Sportech’s pre-tax profits last year. Annual revenues were up 10% to £71.2m, but the nine-month process of acquiring SGR meant profits were reduced to £11.9m. Speaking to eGamingReview, Sportech CEO Ian Penrose defended the acquisition, estimating that SGR now accounts for a third of Sportech’s revenues. “We’ve bought a business that has huge strategic market share, huge presence; we now process 17% of all the tote and horse racing bets in the world.” As a result, Penrose expects Sportech’s EBITDA to rise from £19.7m in 2010 to £26m this year.

I know a likely Lad who might be up for a three-way...

An analyst at Numis Securities is suggesting that Ladbrokes get with the cool kids and merge with the new bwin.party entity. After witnessing Ladbrokes’ furtive half-steps toward merging, first with 888 and then Playtech, Numis analyst Ivor Jones thinks the veteran bookmaking institution is positively gagging for it, so he’s advising interested parties to get a move on before the old girl’s plum shagged out. “It appears that now is the time to discuss deals with Ladbrokes’ management.” Or as we read that, all you need do is say ‘grab your coat’ and Ladbrokes is game. The Pwin people might actually be interested. The new entity starts its honeymoon April 1, but as the excitement inevitably fades with time, Pwin might need some new way of sustaining the market’s affections. So will the Pwin consolidation stone keep rolling? If it does, we’re calling it PwinLad. Or PwinBrokes. Or maybe Brokeback MountPwin. Oh, Pwin… We wish we knew how to quit you…

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