British Bookmaker set for stock market flotation
By staff
Bookmaker Coral Eurobet was today said to be gearing up for an £800m stock market flotation.

The group, which operates some 1,260 betting shops in the UK, has reportedly appointed bankers to look at its options.

A listing would make it the latest in a number of firms to cash in on the stock market's appetite for gambling stocks, following the recent flotations of internet poker groups Party Gaming and Empire Online.

It would mark a major windfall for the company's management team, led by chief executive Vaughn Ashdown. Coral's management owns 16 per cent of the business, which would be worth around £128m at the value being discussed.

The remainder of the group is owned by private equity firm Charterhouse, which backed a management buyout in 2002.

According to a report, Coral has hired investment bank Lehman Brothers as its adviser.

A flotation is said to be its preferred option, although a trade sale has not been ruled out. However, the company's £1.2bn debt means any prospective buyer would have to find £2bn to fund the deal.

Coral was founded in 1926.

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