Five questions answered on Betfair’s rejection of CVC Capital’s takeover bid

CVC shot down.

Online gambling firm Betfair has rejected CVC Capital Partners’ take over bid. We answer five questions on why the company rejected the bid.

What offer did CVC Capital Partners make to Betfair?

CVC, which also owns Formula 1, made a preliminary bid of 880p per share to take over Betfair, offering the company around £912m in total.

Why did Betfair reject this bid?

According to The Telegraph, the company said in a statement released today that the offer “fundamentally undervalues the Company and its attractive prospects".

According to the market, how much is Betfair worth?

On Friday shares in Betfair closed at 805p, which values the business at about £834m.

What else has Betfair said?

Betfair's chairman, Gerald Corbett, speaking to The Telegraph, said: "We have a unique business with a market position, profitability, cash flow and prospects that this proposal fails to recognise.”

He added: "We will provide an update to the market on 7 May 2013 to set out the good progress we are making in the implementation of our strategy, including cost efficiencies, and our recent trading performance."

How well have Betfair done in recent years?

The company, which was founded in 2000 by Ed Wray – a former JP Morgan trader – and former professional gambler Andrew Black, has struggled over the last two-and-a-half years that it has been a public company.

Its shares fell dramatically from its IPO price of £13 a share, following an over-hyped flotation, and last December it announced it was pulling out of Russia and Canada because of their unclear gambling regulations, despite the fact the markets made up almost a quarter of the company’s revenue.

Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for

Photo: Getty Images
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The buck doesn't stop with Grant Shapps - and probably shouldn't stop with Lord Feldman, either

The question of "who knew what, and when?" shouldn't stop with the Conservative peer.

If Grant Shapps’ enforced resignation as a minister was intended to draw a line under the Mark Clarke affair, it has had the reverse effect. Attention is now shifting to Lord Feldman, who was joint chair during Shapps’  tenure at the top of CCHQ.  It is not just the allegations of sexual harrassment, bullying, and extortion against Mark Clarke, but the question of who knew what, and when.

Although Shapps’ resignation letter says that “the buck” stops with him, his allies are privately furious at his de facto sacking, and they are pointing the finger at Feldman. They point out that not only was Feldman the senior partner on paper, but when the rewards for the unexpected election victory were handed out, it was Feldman who was held up as the key man, while Shapps was given what they see as a relatively lowly position in the Department for International Development.  Yet Feldman is still in post while Shapps was effectively forced out by David Cameron. Once again, says one, “the PM’s mates are protected, the rest of us shafted”.

As Simon Walters reports in this morning’s Mail on Sunday, the focus is turning onto Feldman, while Paul Goodman, the editor of the influential grassroots website ConservativeHome has piled further pressure on the peer by calling for him to go.

But even Feldman’s resignation is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Although the scope of the allegations against Clarke were unknown to many, questions about his behaviour were widespread, and fears about the conduct of elections in the party’s youth wing are also longstanding. Shortly after the 2010 election, Conservative student activists told me they’d cheered when Sadiq Khan defeated Clarke in Tooting, while a group of Conservative staffers were said to be part of the “Six per cent club” – they wanted a swing big enough for a Tory majority, but too small for Clarke to win his seat. The viciousness of Conservative Future’s internal elections is sufficiently well-known, meanwhile, to be a repeated refrain among defenders of the notoriously opaque democratic process in Labour Students, with supporters of a one member one vote system asked if they would risk elections as vicious as those in their Tory equivalent.

Just as it seems unlikely that Feldman remained ignorant of allegations against Clarke if Shapps knew, it feels untenable to argue that Clarke’s defeat could be cheered by both student Conservatives and Tory staffers and the unpleasantness of the party’s internal election sufficiently well-known by its opponents, without coming across the desk of Conservative politicians above even the chair of CCHQ’s paygrade.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.