Belfast Telegraph

Buyers circle collapsed Celtic Bookmakers empire

Bookies Paddy Power and Boylesports are interested in buying some of the remaining 43 businesses in Ivan Yates's Celtic Bookmakers empire, which is now in receivership.

Negotiations are at an early stage and both companies are focusing on locations where Celtic has shops and they have no presence, industry sources have confirmed.

Two Celtic Bookmakers shops have closed in recent days, one in Raheny, Dublin, and the other in Naas, Co Kildare, with the loss of six jobs. But a further 231 jobs hang in the balance.

Allied Irish Banks seized control of the company, which has debts of €6m, earlier this week and put accountant Neil Hughes in control to sell off the business.

More than €5m of this debt was personally guaranteed by Mr Yates, the politician-turned-bookmaker, which means he could lose the family home and 160-acre farm outside Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, unless he can come up with a repayment plan that satisfies the bank.

Meanwhile, a number of smaller independent bookies and individuals have also contacted the receiver with a view to bidding for some of the smaller stores around the country.

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