Irish betting operator Boylesports has acquired some betting shops from bankrupt rival Hacketts.
On Tuesday, Boylesports announced it had taken on four Hacketts shops in Tipperary, Kilkenny, Laois and Limerick counties. The shops, which will be rebranded under the Boylesports banner, bring the company’s total complement of Irish shops to 212.
Hacketts was placed in liquidation last month following a lengthy struggle to keep the business afloat. The company sold 15 shops to Paddy Power in 2013 and closed an additional 26 shops to cut costs but it wasn’t enough. Managing director John Hackett is said to be the company’s largest creditor due to his having loaned his own money to the company in a failed bid to keep the lights on.
Paddy Power agreed to honor all outstanding wagers that punters had placed with Hacketts, based in part on the two companies having maintained a good relationship. The outstanding sum is understood to be relatively small, so Paddy can presumably buy a lot of good will and acquire some of Hacketts’ former clientele at a reasonable price.
In 2015, Boylesports made a €25m play for the Irish retail business of UK bookmakers Ladbrokes when that company decided to shed its money-losing division. More recently, Boylesports declared its interest in putting down some UK roots by acquiring some of the estimated 400 UK shops that Ladbrokes and Coral will have to sell if their merger is to get the approval of the UK Competition and Markets Authority.
However, Boylesports appears to have been pipped at the post by UK rival Betfred. This weekend, the Sunday Times reported that Betfred owners Fred and Peter Done were nearing a deal to acquire hundreds of Lads-Coral shops. Betfred currently has around 1,400 shops, making it the UK’s fourth largest retail betting operator behind Ladbrokes, Coral and William Hill.