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BetMakers eyes further M&A after Sportech shareholders approve tote deal

| By Daniel O'Boyle
An overwhelming majority of Sportech shareholders have voted in favour of the deal to sell its global tote business to Australian supplier BetMakers for a total cash consideration of £30.9m.

BetMakers, meanwhile, announced it may be pursuing further M&A activity once the deal completes.

In total, the motion to approve the deal was backed by shareholders of 133.4m Sportech shares, or 99.8% of all votes cast, with just 0.2% – or the holders of 210,407 shares, voting against.

BetMakers is now set to acquire the global tote business, which provides pari-mutuel technology and services to horse race betting operators around the world. The global tote business consists of Sportech’s Americas tote business, its Americas digital business, its UK and European tote business and its Quantum-branded tote technology system used for major race meetings such as the Royal Ascot Festival.

BetMakers said the deal would help accelerate its global growth, and said it hoped the acquisition would allow it to capitalise on opportunities in the US fixed-odds horse race betting market in the US. In July, BetMakers and operator PointsBet agreed a deal to launch fixed-odds betting on horse racing in New Jersey.

The supplier will now be required to make a non-refundable initial payment of £6.2m, with the remaining £24.7m to be paid after completion of the deal.

It will fund the deal through a combination of existing cash and an AU$50m placement, which was completed today (4 January). BetMakers issued 83.3m fully paid ordinary shares at a price of AUD$0.60 each.

In addition, BetMakers announced that it is in negotiations over commercial terms with several operators.

“While the company is currently unable to discuss the materiality of such negotiations, the company will notify the market of such transactions in due course,” it said.

Sportech’s approval of the deal comes after an attempt by New York-based investment fund Standard General to acquire the entire business fell through after two bids were rejected. Standard General made a 28.5 pence per share offer for the business which was rejected in November 2020, before upping its bid to 32.5 pence per share in December.

Standard General then withdrew after a “significant shareholder” of Sportech revealed that it would take a “substantially higher offer” for SPortech to accept.

In related news, Sportech’s Bump 50:50 in-stadium raffle technology business has received approval from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), meaning the brand may now operate in the Canadian province.

“We’re very pleased to have secured this important registration in Alberta and to be in the position to further expand our client base into yet another Canadian province,” Bump 50:50 president Dave Kurland said. “As of June 2020, Bump 50:50 had grown our client list significantly, to 135 clients, many of them in Canada.

“We are now looking forward to introducing our proven platforms for digital and in-person raffles to the charitable organizations of Alberta.”

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