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Centrebet up for sale

It may not be Bwin after all, as I predicted a few weeks ago, but the news is out in Australia that several different UK suitors are sniffing around the pioneer of online sports betting, Centrebet.

Centrebet rockets on takeover talks

SHARE investors piled into Centrebet yesterday as three British gaming companies loomed as potential bidders to take over the listed online wagering and gaming company.

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Analysts said Centrebet -- which is 60 per cent owned by the family of its chief executive, Con Kafataris -- was a good fit for foreign companies wanting to get a stake in the Australian market ahead of expected deregulation.

British operators Ladbrokes, William Hill and Sportingbet are the reported overseas suitors for Centrebet and some analysts believe the takeover price could reach $2 a share.

The Productivity Commission recently recommended a swag of reforms thought to be favourable for growth in online sportsbooks and casinos in Australia.



The Australian market is undergoing major reform, the likes of Betfair, Paddy Power and Sportingbet are already out there, and there are several more to come. Most of the owners/founders of existing Australian firms - IASBet (Mark Read - sold to Sportsbet/Paddy Power), Centrebet (Con Kafataris), BetChoice (Colin Tidy), BetStar (Michael Eskander), TopSport (Lloyd Merlehan) are all on the far side of 50 and all willing to sell if the price is right. Don't expect this to be the last sale in Australia.

Centrebet have been around for a long time and have a geographical distribution of clients better than most bookmakers. It would have been top of that category 3-4 years ago, but BWin and Bet365 have probably usurped them there.

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