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IAS sells off Canbet

Canbet sold to Yin Khing Investments for $1million

Hardly a surprise, Canbet has been a lemon for sometime. Back around 2000, Canbet was flying. Licensed and run from Canberra (hence the name), it was a leading brand for betting on US sports, betting tight margins and trading the American way - copy the Vegas line and move it when everyone else does. Move the price a few cents and the scalpers come in to balance up the books. But then they got too ambitious and tried the same formula on European and Australian sports. They failed dismally. They moved the operation to the UK to gain more European clients and make better use of the timezone, but all the while, employing little resource at risk management and trading. A sportsbook valued at over US$20m was going downhill fast.

Then along came tighter regulations in the US, forcing Canbet to cut all their ties with American customers, who had been the entire reason the business was profitable. IASBet came along soon after and bought Canbet for $1m, a huge drop in price compared to their high-flying days. The value for IAS was in the UK licence, which they had been seeking for some time. IAS tried to extend their Australian operations into Canbet but like much of their trading, couldn't get it to work. IAS make virtually all their money from racing and proprietary trading off their brilliant databases and trading models. Their profits from cusotmers are negligible.

The Canbet operation continued to flounder, losing AU$8.6m in the 2007/08 financial year and another $3.7m in the latter half of 2008. The time had come for IAS to cut their losses and get rid of the lemon that was hurting the value of their share price.

The new owner, Yin Khing Investments, is registered in the British Virgin Islands with links to Singapore.

This now makes IAS a better prospect for a buyer, but in this climate and at the price Read & his board want, who is going to buy them? Centrebet want(ed) in, Sportsbet bought in perhaps to give Read support to block the Centrebet move, Paddy Power are allegedly trying to do a deal with Sportsbet, the Tas Tote is still up for sale, the Vic wagering licence is up for renewal soon... interesting times ahead.

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