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BoyleSports looking to Asia for acquisitions under new boss


Ambitious: Conor Gray

Ambitious: Conor Gray

Ambitious: Conor Gray

Co Armagh man Conor Gray, the new chief executive of bookmaking chain Boylesports, has said that the company is interested in expanding the business outside of Europe, with Asia a possibility.

The company has long held ambitions for an expansion into Great Britain, but will wait for the effects of new regulations to be felt there before making any acquisitions.

Mr Gray, who is the son-in-law of founder John Boyle, said the firm could invest further afield.

Like Mr Boyle, Mr Gray is from the village of Markethill in Co Armagh, where the first BoyleSports opened in 1982.

"Europe's a tricky market to be involved in. We're thinking of Asia," Mr Gray said.

"The regulatory environment in Asia would be one that we'd have to be more solid about. And we're thinking of a couple of other geographies that would be of interest to us.

"There's a couple that are in the hopper at the moment and probably it's just a fraction too early to talk about them. But we're interested in any geography that's got a business model that suits ours and there's a lot of them in that regard that do."

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"One of them is fairly close, to the point where we're really in the decision time as to whether or not we will go for it."

In the UK, the group is eyeing regional operators with between 10 and 50 shops.

There are seven BoyleSports in Northern Ireland and a total of 242 on the island of Ireland.

In December last year, Business Telegraph revealed BoyleSports' acquisition of bookies in Keady and Omagh. It already owns two in Newry, one in Camlough, another in Crossmaglen and the original in Markethill.