Gala Coral Bids for Tote
By James Mc
The state owned bookmaker the Tote, founded in 1928 by Winston Churchill, has been embroiled in the industry’s recent mergers and acquisitions merry-go-round, after Gala Coral confirmed it has made an offer for the business which could fetch as much as £405 million.

Gala said in a statement that it would prefer to bid solely for the Tote's 540 betting shops, which it values at £325m but would consider other options depending on how the government views its proposals.

Under Gala's alternative plans, it could offer £405m for the entire business, after which it would sell on Tote's on-course betting, telephone betting and internet betting operations, which Gala values at around £80m.

However, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said last night that the government 'had not yet invited any bids for the Tote'.

The news follows earlier speculation surrounding former Tote boss John Heaton, now in charge of Interactive Gaming Holdings (IGH), when he indicated that IGH may be prepared to bid for the Tote should it come up for auction.

Tote operating profits fell 3.3 percent to £23.4m last year because of poor horse-racing results while turnover grew 16.9 percent to £2.21 billion.

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