|UK online sports site UKBetting is in discussions to buy its competitor Rivals 365, according to sources cited by The Guardian. The company earlier this week announced the acquisition of betting comparison service Oddschecker.com for £4.5 million ($ 7.6 million), and deals in the past two years have included takeovers of rivals SportingLife, Sports.com, TeamTalk and Sportal.|
Rivals 365 parent companies Chrysalis and Eckoh have refused to provided further financing, having invested £2 million ($ 3.4million) in Rivals 365 following its 2002 merger of Rivals.net, owned by radio giant Chrysalis, and 365 Corporation's content division. Of the £2 million ($ 3.4 million), Chrysalis put £1.3 million ($2.2 million) into the business with the rest provided by 365 and management.
Chrysalis and Eckoh each have a 40% stake in Rivals 365, which is now becoming profitable, but they have said the company isn’t central to their plans. Rivals 365's management owns the other 20%.
Despite the continued success of the Rivals 365 sites in terms of visitors, the company is rumoured to be burning cash, and plans for a management buyout came to nothing. Enter UKBetting, which has built a reputation for acquiring financially struggling sites then turning them around. It then trims costs and integrates the acquired sites into its content division to increase traffic and betting revenues for UKBetting. UKBetting vice-chairman Peter Dubens said UKBetting plans to expand into Europe, where he described the potential for Internet betting as huge.