Betfred purchases Betting World to crack South Africa

Betfred has secured a foothold in the South African betting market, purchasing Betting World (bettingworld.co.za) from Phumelela, conducted via the newly established Betfred South Africa brand. 

Carried out at a purchasing price of R120 million (£6.1 million), subject to final adjustment relating to the net capital of working items, the transaction was considered officially concluded as of 31 May.

The purchase of Phumelela’s online betting vertical was intiially reported to have been disclosed by Phumelela business rescue practitioner John Evans, leading the bankruptcy arrangements of the heritage South African racetrack operator.

Confirming the purchase, Betfred announced that it was in the process of fulfilling regulatory requirements relating to the transfer of shareholdings in the company, having finalised the takeover on 1 June.

Phil Siers, Chief Commercial Officer at Betfred, stated: “We are delighted to see the Betfred International service extended to South Africa, and look forward to becoming a leading South African bookmaker and providing a world class service to all our new customers.

“The last 12 months have been difficult for all businesses, but Betfred is excited about the future of Betting World and intends to make a major investment in Africa over the coming years”.

Last summer, a distressed Phumelela Gaming and Leisure suspended its trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) as the company filed for South African bankruptcy protection.

Fred Done’s Betfred initially expressed interest in the financially troubled firm after the Johannesburg High Court placed its assets under bankruptcy protection, prompting the company to request additional investors in order to avoid outright liquidation.

Agreeing on a business rescue plan arrangement, Phumelela was subsequently forced to place its South African racetracks for sale by creditors. 

Betfred original intent was to acquire all Phumelela racetrack properties for ZAR 875-to-925 million (€44-46m) in a bid that saw the Manchester bookmaker compete against a fund owned by racing enthusiast Mary Oppenheimer-Slack and her daughter Jessica Jell –members of South Africa’s richest mining family.

Despite its significantly larger rescue offer, Betfred’s bid was refused to be reviewed by auditors, who had agreed to back the Oppenheimer fund as an existing creditor of Phumelela’s business.

South African business news sources have branded Betfred acquisition of World Betting as a transformative deal for South Africa’s sports betting landscape – which to date has been strictly fenced for domestic incumbents.

As yet, Betfred has made no official statement on its acquisition of Phumelela’s World Betting asset, disclosed by rescue practitioners.  

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