Betfair boss Corcoran set to play hardball with CVC

The online betting platform has already rejected an offer at £8.80 a share and could be looking for over £10...

by Andrew Saunders
Last Updated: 08 May 2013
New boss Breon Corcoran – who joined from Paddy Power last August - may not have been in the job that long but no-one could accuse him of lacking chutzpah. Having rejected CVC’s ‘sighting shot’ bid of £8.80 a share recently he’s just put out a upbeat guidance statement suggesting that an upturn in the firm’s fortunes should mean that it beats analysts profit expectations for the year and increases planned savings from £20m to £30m.

It’s gone down pretty well with investors, many of whom are now suggesting that CVC – or anyone else - will have to dig much deeper if it wants to take over Betfair, raising its offer to as much as £10 per share, well over £1bn in total. Fighting talk.

Corcoran has pleased shareholders not only with his costcutting zeal but also with his restructuring of the firm’s business model, adding a traditional odds-setting bookmaking operation alongside Betfair’s famous online exchange.

For despite being arguably Britain’s most successful dotcom business, Betfair has never quite lived up to its promise as far as most investors are concerned. The canny Corcoran seems determined to show them that he is on their side, although he has stopped short of a share buyback, which some analysts were expecting.

It seems to have worked, at least for the time being, with backers prepared to give him a chance to complete his turnaround plans.

So the ball is now firmly back in CVCs court. Let’s see what response, if any, they come up with. 

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