The UK government has confirmed that a deal has been done with bookie Betfred for the sale of the Tote. The rumor mill began in the early hours of this morning and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has confirmed the murmurings. The acquisition will cost Fred Done’s company £265m and it could be likened to an extremely lavish vintage car. How much is a Delorean these days?
Commenting on the deal, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was “a closely fought contest which has ended up giving the Tote business and the racing industry the certainty they have been looking for.”
“This deal has been carefully calculated to make sure that the interests of racing, Tote employees and the Tote Pension Fund were given the greatest possible weight,” he added.
Meanwhile Gambling and Racing Minister John Penrose said that they had “bent over backwards to deliver a good deal for racing,” before adding. “We are pleased that today’s agreement will see racing receive not only their 50 per cent share of net proceeds but also the separate commitment from Betfred to racing of a significant ongoing stream of commercial payments, plus a contractually guaranteed cap on the number of job losses.”
The fine points of the deal are that Betfred will pay the government £180m with £90m going directly to the Treasury. Racing will get the same figure as well as annual commercial payments of £11m until 2012 and £9m per annum after. The British Horseracing Association will be red-faced after backing Sir Martin Broughton’s bid and now have to work in part with Betfred as the group takes over the 517 retail outlets and on-course betting.