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£100m Football Pools management buyout deal falls through

Published 01/11/2016

Sportech chief executive Ian Penrose said the firm would continue to focus on maximising opportunities for The Football Pools
Sportech chief executive Ian Penrose said the firm would continue to focus on maximising opportunities for The Football Pools

A deal to sell The Football Pools for nearly £100 million to its management team has fallen through.

The owner of the world's oldest football gaming company, Sportech, said on Tuesday that talks with private equity firm Burlywood Capital, which was fronting the deal, have been "terminated".

Chief executive Ian Penrose said: "Burlywood was unable to conclude the transaction set out within their proposal which we announced in September.

"The Football Pools is a valuable asset which has been transformed following a lengthy modernisation programme. We will continue to focus on maximising opportunities for the business."

Burlywood had proposed to acquire the firm for £97.25 million last month as part of a management buyout.

At the time, Sportech said the deal "represents an attractive opportunity" following a modernisation programme.

Punters no longer fill in paper coupons to bet on football results, with the Pools now operating online. Around 300,000 players stake their cash each week in the hope of winning a maximum £3 million.

Football pools began in 1923 in Manchester, with Littlewoods selling coupons in the city. But the firm has struggled since the National Lottery was launched in 1994.

Neverthless, Sportech said that operating profit for the Liverpool-based Pools came in at £7 million for the first half of the year.

Sportech consists of three divisions - Sportech Racing and Digital, Sportech Venues and The Football Pools.

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