Business Irish

Friday 22 August 2014

Ladbrokes lay large on Desmond company

Roisin Burke

Published 29/07/2012 | 05:00

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Bets are on that bookmaker Ladbrokes is considering a takeover of Dermot Desmond's Betdaq.

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"There are discussions about deepening our relationship with Betdaq," a Ladbrokes spokesman said on Friday.

"We are on a programme to improve our technology, and that could make it useful to us. I won't comment on whether we would buy it, but it would be useful to us, and you can draw your own conclusions."

A €55m price tag for Betdaq is suggested by one gambling industry expert, though some past reports have put it at treble that figure. It's a private unlimited company for which revenue or profits figures are unavailable making its exact value hard to gauge.

Earlier in the year Ladbrokes confirmed it had had talks with billionaire shareholder Desmond about a technology deal, with the betting exchange company to buy pricing and other expertise, but an outright buy now looks to be under consideration.

Rival bettor William Hill is also said to be considering taking a punt on Betdaq, though it did not respond to enquiries on the matter.

"I've heard it whispered with louder volume in recent weeks," said former Ladbrokes UK boss Rob Hartnett, who now runs the online resource Sport For Business. "Betdaq has made moves towards developing a sports book. The coming together of both sides of that equation would seem to be gathering pace."

Mr Desmond, a shareholder in Independent News & Media, the publisher of the Sunday Independent, didn't respond to a request for comment on Friday.

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