BUSINESS

Betfair sacks hundreds of staffers as restructuring plan bites down hard

TAGs: Betfair, layoffs

betfair-redundanciesBetting exchange Betfair has reportedly sacked hundreds of employees as new CEO Breon Corcoran attempts to right the company’s slide by shedding £20m in annual expenses. In November, Betfair dismissed about 50 help and customer service staffers in the company’s “less attractive” markets and rumors of further redundancies first surfaced last week, when sources told GamblingCompliance that around 80 jobs had been cut from Betfair’s London headquarters. eGamingReview has now reported that the total number of redundancies could top 650, with the majority of the cuts reportedly coming from marketing, affiliate management and CRM positions.

Additional cuts may hit Betfair’s regulatory, compliance and technology departments, presumably stemming from Betfair’s recent exits from several grey-markets, including Cyprus, Greece and Germany. Exits are also planned for Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Norway and emerging markets in Asia and South America. In an interview published Thursday by Malta Today, Befair Malta managing director Steve Ives said the company had “reduced our scale a bit in recent months, mainly as a result of a reduction in the number of geographic markets we are addressing.” Ives believes the trend towards .country regulation “will inevitably put pressure on groups to consider where they employ staff, which may explain some downsizing.”

Speaking to analysts in December following the release of the company’s lackluster earnings report, which saw operating profit fall by 25%, Corcoran sketched out a rescue plan intended to “reinvigorate the business by focusing on regulated jurisdictions” and to “invest in product and brand to enhance our competitive position and drive growth.” Pardon us for saying so, but this is akin to a straight guy planning to ‘reinvigorate’ the number of girls he scores with by working out, getting his hair cut, then spending a lot more time in gay bars. There is no ‘free’ nor ‘easy’ business to be had in highly regulated and competitively mature markets, just as there are comparatively few straight single girls to be found in gay bars. But we suppose this is just the way public companies view the world.

Betfair shares closed out Friday’s trading at 685.5p, well above its historic low of 571p in July 2011, but still less than half its £1.55 peak shortly after the stock began trading in Oct. 2010. Since hitting 764p on Dec. 12, the stock has lost over 10% of its value.

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