The Alizeti consortium and Betfred have entered into a deal worth up to £150m for UK bookmakers the Tote.
According to a report by Sky Sports, Alizeti will pay a fee of £20m for its initial stake in the Tote with the view of spending up to £150m in the next 5 years to take full ownership.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Alizeti consortium, which is of racehorse owners and breeders, will acquire an initial 25% stake in the Tote while retaining a further option to acquire the remaining 75%.
Betfred first purchased Tote from the UK Government in 2011 for £265m, having previously been run by the state since its establishment by Sir Winston Churchill in 1928.
Speaking about the agreement, Betfred CEO Fred Done said: “Alex and his team’s enthusiasm for racing coupled with their excellent vision for the future of the UK Tote is most impressive. It is for this reason I am delighted to join with Alizeti in moving the Tote forward to the next exciting chapter in its history.”
Paying tribute to Done’s role in leading the Tote, Alizeti CEO Alex Frost added: “Fred has achieved incredible things in the industry. He has delivered on all his promises regarding contributions to racing and securing jobs. I am tremendously excited about our shared vision for a truly iconic brand within the sport of horseracing, and for where the Tote can go next - both domestically and on a global stage.”
During its tenure at the helm of the Tote, Betfred has given almost £90m back to UK horse racing from the initial purchase sum alone, so many in the industry will be hoping that Alizeti will be able to build on this positive legacy.
Stressing the potential benefits to British racing of the multi-million pound deal, Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, said that: “The retention of owners in British racing is of paramount importance and critical to ensuring that the number of horses in training increases.
“Whilst one of the challenges at the moment is sole owners leaving the sport, it is encouraging to see a group of owners and breeders coming together to help build a strong Tote to benefit all of racing, including through an increased contribution to prize money; a huge positive for the industry.”
Sentiments which were echoed by 20-time Champion Jockey Sir Anthony McCoy, who added: “A successful Tote means big prize pots for race fans and money going back into the sport. It’s great to see the Tote will continue to be owned by real horsemen with racing’s best interests at heart to provide just that.”