Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Runners Line Up to Take over the Tote

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Runners Line Up to Take over the Tote

Article excerpt

STATE-owned horse racing bookmaker the Tote is to be sold off on the open market.

The Government is understood to have rejected a pounds 320m bid from a racing consortium for the organisation and is expected to start an auction next month.

With betting group Coral likely to be in the running, the move could herald an end to the long-running saga of the Tote's sale, which was a Labour Party manifesto commitment back in 2001.

The consortium, which included the Racehorse Owners Association, the Racehorse Association and Tote bosses, made a bid in January this year.

But the process ran into difficulties over its financial make-up and turbulent market conditions.

Accountants PwC, who are advising the Government, placed a price of pounds 400m on the Wigan-based organisation.

It is feared that the Government accepting a significantly lower price would fall foul of European Union state aid rules. The market sale decision could be formally announced before Parliament goes into recess on Wednesday. …

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