Ladbrokes in talks to buy Betdaq
British bookmaker Ladbrokes is in talks to buy the Dermot Desmond-controlled betting business Betdaq for a reported €37 million.
Ladbrokes confirmed yesterday that it is in discussions with Dublin-based betting exchange Betdaq “regarding a potential future acquisition”, but added that there was no certainty that an agreement would be reached.
Neither side gave an indication of Betdaq’s value, but reports yesterday suggested that the figure on the table may be in the region of £30 million sterling (€36.8 million).
A deal would see Ladbrokes enter new territory as Betdaq is a betting exchange rather than a conventional bookmaker.
Betting exchanges are exclusively online-based operators which allow punters to bet on a particular result in the normal way or offer odds against it.
There has been ongoing speculation in the betting industry for the last year that Ladbrokes was interested in buying either Betdaq or its betting exchange technology.
Mr Desmond also owns between 2 per cent and 3 per cent of the publicly-quoted bookmaker, and Ladbrokes’s statement yesterday pointed out that both companies already enjoy a close commercial relationship.
The British bookmaker has been looking at acquisition as a means of halting the slide in its share of the online betting market, where it has lost ground to rivals such as Paddy Power, William Hill and Betfair.
Since current chief executive Richard Glynn took over in early 2010, Ladbrokes has attempted to buy rivals 888 and Sportingbet.
It also entered, but pulled out of, the auction for Australian operator Centrebet, and is said to have approached online gambling technology developer and service provider Playtech.
A deal with Betdaq would help to boost the company’s online presence, give it access to the Irish operation’s technology and a foothold in the betting exchange market.
There are other aspects of the Desmond-owned business that could interest the bookmaker. Betdaq provides the technology for Racecourse Data Technology, a service used by traditional bookies at race tracks.
This allows them to run their books and display odds digitally, and also to hedge their risks directly onto Betdaq’s betting exchange.
Mr Desmond set up Betdaq in 2000, but the company has struggled to compete with rival Betfair, which was the first into the market.
Betfair now holds a 90 per cent share against the Irish company’s 10 per cent.
If it were to join forces with Ladbrokes the bookmaker would be able to offer the betting exchange service directly to its online customers, bringing its service to a much wider audience.
Betdaq did not comment on the Ladbrokes statement issued yesterday.