Cenkos CEO Looks to Float the Tote

7 January 2008

The head of a London-based securities firm has reportedly made an offer to purchase and float the Tote simultaneously, possibly putting an end to the tempestuous sale of the state-owned betting agency.

Andy Stewart, CEO of Cenkos Securities and a racehorse owner, announced on Sunday an aggressive plan to use an accelerated initial public offering, allowing them to take ownership of the Tote before quickly floating it on London's AIM junior market, but said he would leave the government with an unspecified "large" stake.

Stewart told the Independent that based on the numbers he had run, the sale would be valued at around £260 million.

A British racing industry consortium, consisting of the Race Course Association, the Racehorse Owners Association and the Racecourse Holdings trust, in January 2007 put in a £400 million bid, but reduced its offer to £320 million in September, due to changing market conditions, according to reports.

Media reports last month said that the government had finally rejected the consortium's bid and would announce that the Tote would be up for sale on the open market.

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture Media and Sport, however, said the government was still considering the consortium bid and declined comment on Stewart's offer.

"No decision has been made," she said. "Our focus is on the consortium bid."

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