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State-owned Tote up for sale again- 22 Jul 2008 00:00:00

The government has begun to prepare its latest attempts for a possible sale of state-owned bookmaker, the Tote, in the autumn.

However Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said that the final decision to launch the sale had not yet been taken.

Attempts to sell the business to the racing industry and a consortium backed by private equity have both fallen through in the past few years.

The Tote was established in 1928. It now employs 4,000 people and is the fourth-largest bookmaker in the UK.

The government made a commitment to sell the Tote in its 2001 election manifesto.

It appointed the investment bank Goldman Sachs to examine options for the business in April.

However, in a written statement to parliament Sutcliffe said that the market conditions would have to be right for a sale.

Previous bids for the Tote have valued the business at about £400m, but recent reports have said the downturn in the economic climate means it may now fetch less than £300m.

 

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