One of Betfair's strongest allies in the press, Greg Wood of the Guardian isn't getting caught up in all the hype over the Betfair float.
What prospects are left for growth? If the economy is flat, then why are they going ahead now? Is liquidity flat-lining?
Betfair flotation may give potential investors that sinking feeling
The men who founded Betfair are gamblers at heart, and reports over the weekend that they intend to press ahead with a float suggest that their appetite for a punt has not diminished. An oft-quoted estimate of the exchange's value is £1.5bn. These are uncertain times, but if it raises much less than that, it will be seen as a gamble gone astray.
It is entirely possible that Andrew Black and Ed Wray, who own 25% of the business, are so confident about Betfair's long-term prospects that the immediate possibility of a double-dip recession is of little concern. Alternatively, it is conceivable that Betfair, in their opinion, is now as valuable as it is likely to get, and so it is time to cash in without delay.
A little over two years ago, a personal view would have been that the former explanation was much the more plausible. Now, I'm not so sure.
You have to admit, he has a point. Considering that very few of the remaining honchos at Betfair these days actually bet, and who the hell would trust investment bankers these days, is there any reason to assume they are going ahead at the right time?? Still, the only people really complaining if the £1.5bn valuation only realises £1.25bn are Softbank, the technology investment company who bought in at the peak of the market. Everyone else was in much earlier, so dropping 1/6 of perceived value in the current economy when the initial investment was significantly less won't bring too many tears.