Betfair not planning imminent flotation - Monday 17th of October 2005

Betfair on Friday quashed speculation that it was planning an imminent flotation that newspapers estimate would value the group at up to 1 billion pounds.

"We dont have any reason to go for an immediate flotation," Managing Director Mark Davis told Reuters. "Why would we float? We have no reason to raise new money, and we dont have any shareholders who are agitating for an exit."

The Financial Times reported on Friday that Betfair had planned a flotation, but had decided to wait until after next years soccer World Cup in Germany before listing in London.

The company believes a delay will allow time for its investment in international expansion to be felt, the paper said.

The country has witnessed a flurry of listings by online gaming companies this year, but shares in the sector have dived in the last two months over fears that growth is tailing off.

Trident Gaming and Irelands Gameaccount emerged this week as the latest online gamers considering listing on Londons junior AIM index.

After listing in June, industry leader PartyGamings shares soared to a high point of 179 pence, valuing the owner of PartyPoker and StarluckCasino at 7.3 billion pounds.

But since then it has lost over half its value, although analysts are forecasting a steady recovery.

"We hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to advise us on strategic options," Betfairs Davis told Reuters. "Theyre still advising us, but we dont have any plans for an immediate flotation."

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