Bowman Bought for 12 Million Pounds

27 November 2000
Many industry pundits predict that a series of acquisitions and mergers will eventually lead to a smaller, more consolidated e-betting industry. Whether those days are here is debatable, but one of the Internet's best-known sports betting companies, Bowman International Sports Limited, is being purchased by Firststake plc for £12 million, subject to the contract's execution.

Firststake, an OFEX-traded retail and online sportsbetting operation based in the U.K., will gain 26,000 American and Canadian customers with this deal, plus increase its annual turnover by more than $200 million. To execute the deal, an initial payment of £4 million will be payable through the issue of 5.7 million new ordinary shares in Firststake, valued at 70.5 pence per share and representing 32 percent of the company's enlarged issued share capital. Four more equal payments total £8 million will be made in June and December 2001 and 2002. These additional payments will be made with the issuance of either loan notes or new ordinary shares, as agreed between the two companies. Upon the deal's completion, Gary Bowman will join Firststake's board.

Bowman commented, "I am delighted that this deal fulfils my vision of the globalization of the betting industry. With my predominant position in North America, plus Firststake's existing online growth and local high street presence, we will be able to benefit the betting public worldwide. I am sure that the full potential of the Bowman brand can be realized through this opportunity."

His enthusiasm was echoed by Firststake's chairman, Karim Ghaidan, who said, " "Ever since we started discussions with Gary Bowman it was clear that there were tremendous synergies between the two organizations. Bowman International's strengths lie in the North American market and on a telephone based service for the more experienced customer. Firststake's strengths are UK market oriented and primarily about targeting sports fans with a proprietary Internet platform. By pooling our resources and experiences we are creating a very powerful force to fulfil our global market aspirations, and at a stroke increasing our turnover more than fifteen-fold."