Football Pools sale to Burlywood Capital cancelled by Sportech

By Dhanum Nursigadoo
Sportech informed the market today that the sale of its Football Pools division will be called off.

In September, Sportech announced it was in talks to sell the 93 year old sector to private equity firm Burlywood Capital.

These talks have now been terminated with Sportech CEO Ian Penrose commenting: “Burlywood was unable to conclude the transaction set out within their proposal.”

Burlywood specified that the firm would secure a £30 million debt facility for its acquisition.

The Football Pools, the oldest football gaming business, were once the dominant way to gamble on football with 10 million players at its peak. Today the pools are played by about 300,000 people.

Sportech’s governance has received numerous acquisition bids for the Football Pools in recent years, but has declined all proposed offers of interested parties.

The Football Pools generated revenues of £33 million with yearly profits of £15 million. However, the asset has seen a continued decline in active players. The product was combined with other pools brands bought from Littlewoods Gaming in 2000, Zetters in 2002 and Vernons in 2007. This was done as an attempt to modernise and compete with other online offerings and the National Lottery.

From this the business made sales of £33.8m and profits of £15.2m last year.

Sportech governance stated that the company would continue to focus on “maximising opportunities for the business”.


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