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Sports Betting Firm Betfair Looking Likely to Float

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According to recent reports, successful online sports betting exchange,
Betfair, is considering a public listing that could see the gambling
giant generate up to £1.5 billion in capital, which it could use to fund its
acquisition program, particular in the U.S. if its online gambling ban is

If – as many online gambling insiders predict – the Obama administration
reverses the country’s current online gambling ban sometime within the next
year, it could open the floodgates for offshore online gambling firms, like
Betfair, to once again enter the highly lucrative U.S. online gambling market.

The possibility that the U.S. government will take this step is causing many of
the world’s largest online gambling firms to shore themselves up through a
series of mergers and acquisitions that would leave them well-placed to enter
the U.S. online gambling market. And Betfair it seems is no different.

Since its launch a few years ago, Betfair has managed to go from strength to
strength to become the world’s largest betting exchange. Earlier this month,
Betfair’s annual results showed a revenue increase of 27 per cent to £303
million in the year to April 30, with its users up 25 per cent to 652 000.

As such, Betfair founders  Bertie Black and Ed Wray have reportedly been meeting
with financial advisers over the possibility of a flotation. However, the online
gambling executives made it clear that they do not want a repeat of the events
that surrounded another planned listing some years earlier.

If the listing goes ahead as planned, the Black and Wray stand to make hundreds
of millions of pounds. The dynamic duo each own 25 percent of Betfair, while
leading Japanese investor SoftBank owns a 23 percent stake, and private equity
investors and management own the remaining 25 percent.

Softbank is reportedly keen to see a return on its hefty £355 million investment
it made 3 years ago while Black and Wray – who are each already worth over £190
million – could scoop another £175 million pounds each if the listing goes
ahead. Betfair makes an average 6.4 million trades every day.

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