Sunday 4 December 2016

Power co-founder Corcoran sells off more shares in 'estate planning'

Published 22/11/2015 | 02:30

Paddy Power shareholders are expected to receive documentation relating to the proposed €7.5bn Betfair tie-up in the coming weeks
Paddy Power shareholders are expected to receive documentation relating to the proposed €7.5bn Betfair tie-up in the coming weeks

Paddy Power co-founder John Corcoran has sold off another tranche of shares in the bookmaker. Documents filed to the Irish Stock Exchange show that on Tuesday Corcoran sold 12,500 shares at €114 each, a transaction worth €1.425m.

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He now owns 1,132,500 Paddy Power shares - a 2.57pc stake, valued at around €130m. Corcoran has been progressively winding down his shareholding in Paddy Power in recent times.

The previous Wednesday, he sold off 10,000 shares, half at €110.75 and half at €110.90. In October, he sold 15,000 shares at €99 each.

The Sunday Independent understands that the sale is part of an exercise being undertaken by Corcoran, 87, for estate-planning purposes. The sale is to discharge tax liabilities arising from the planned reorganisation of Corcoran's shareholdings within his family.

Corcoran, a former managing director of Green Property, was ranked 79th - up two places - on the Sunday Independent's 2015 Rich List.

His share sale comes with Paddy Power's price hovering around a record high and a merger with online betting exchange Betfair in the offing. The company, which was formed in 1987 out of a merger of 40 shops owned by Corcoran, Stewart Kenny and David Power, floated in 2000 at €2.40.

Paddy Power shareholders are expected to receive documentation relating to the proposed €7.5bn Betfair tie-up in the coming weeks.

The new entity, Paddy Power Betfair plc, will have its headquarters in Dublin and be run by Betfair boss Breon Corcoran. Current Paddy Power chief executive Andy McCue will be the chief operations officer of the new company, while Paddy Power chairman Gary McGann will remain as chairman of the new group.

The tie-up has been welcomed by most analysts, with the betting industry in something of a regulatory flux.

"There is massive consolidation in the sector as a result of the point-of-consumption tax coming in at the back end of last year. You only have to look back at the deals that have been going on.

"William Hill tried to take 888 out, and then you've got Ladbrokes and Gala Coral merging together. You've got BWin up for sale, with GVC and 888 kind of fighting over that one," Sophie Blandford, an equity analyst at Daniel Stewart & Co, told the Sunday Independent.

"So you've got margin pressure from the introduction of this tax and you've also got changes to the fixed-odds betting terminals that came in March this year. You've got two tax changes that have moved people towards looking at maintaining their margins and ultimately looking to get bigger and more scaleable - trying to take out some costs and benefit from both cost and revenue synergies."

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