October 11, 2007

Bet Direct ‘could fetch £6m’

32Red’s up-for-sale Bet Direct operation could fetch £6m (US$12m), valuing the business at less than half of the price it fetched when it was sold by Sportech in May of last year, according to sources.

It is thought that Irish-based bookmaker Boylesports remains the favourite to snap up the business, though Stan James and Chronicle bookmakers (half-owned by Dermot Desmond, the Irish billionaire and owner of Betdaq) are also rumoured to be in the hunt. The deal could well go through within the next two weeks.

The Aim-listed operator confirmed a fortnight ago in a statement to the London Stock Exchange it was in talks to sell Bet Direct after eGaming Review broke the story that the loss-making sports-betting operation was on the market.

32Red bought the business from Sportech in May 2006 for £12.5m.

Boylesports gave an official no comment, as did Stan James, which was thought to be among the original bidders for Bet Direct when it was sold by Sportech.

No-one at Chronicle was available for comment.