Betfair Founders in [Pounds Sterling]360m Windfall

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Davies

BETFAIR is to launch a stock market listing valuing the betting exchange at up to [pounds sterling]1.5bn, in a move that would crystalise a [pounds sterling]360m paper fortune for its two founders.

The self-proclaimed world's largest betting exchange - which differs from traditional bookmakers in that gamblers bet against one another - said it would float a minimum of 10pc of the company.

And co-founders Wray and Andrew Black - who started the company in 2000 with [pounds sterling]60,000 - will sell 10pc of their combined 24pc holding, earning the duo an immediate [pounds sterling]36m cash windfall.

Chief executive David Yu said the manoeuvre would boost Betfair's expansion plans, helping it pull in overseas investors and smoothing over hurdles to private firms in some jurisdictions. Yu shrugged off fears that Betfair's float could go the way of recent initial public offerings, such as interactive whiteboards firm Promethean and online grocer Ocado, both of which have seen their stock drift amid a difficult market for listings.

He said that other than the presence of Goldman Sachs as an adviser in all three floats, there were no similarities.

'We don't have debt, we're not private equity backed and we're not raising capital,' he said.

'It's a different proposition to companies where the founders are trying to exit. We see the benefit of being a listed company but it's not something we have to do'. …