Tattersalls buys 10pc of British adult gaming centre operator - Monday 28th of November 2005

GAMBLING giant Tattersalls, which is considering a bid to run Britains national lottery, has bought a 10 per cent stake in quoted amusement arcade owner Talarius. A broker said the Australian stake-building was a friendly move.

Tattersalls is likely to become a strategic partner to Talarius, which owns and operates the Quicksilver chain of "adult gaming centres".

Acquisition of the stake is likely to be confirmed by the stock exchange this week.

More than 7.7 million Talarius shares were traded last Friday and Talarius stock closed up 10.3 per cent at 134p, valuing the company at pound stg. 46 million ($107.5 million).

Purchase of a stake in Talarius is thought to be Tattersalls first foray into the British betting and gaming market. It is likely to help Talarius to step up its international growth.

Although little known in Britain, Tattersalls is one of the biggest gambling groups in Australia, with a market value of $2.4 billion. It runs 900 lotto outlets across Australia and a 260-strong chain of live music venues. It floated in Australia last July, partly to raise funds to expand its international presence. It has already expanded into South Africa, where it is a shareholder in the company that runs the national lottery there. Tattersalls is considering a bid for the licence to run Britains national lottery when it comes up for renewal. Applications are due by March 2007.

Tattersalls chairman David Jones told shareholders at the groups annual meeting that it wanted to grow significantly overseas. Talarius, led by chief executive Nick Harding, has also been expanding and this month announced the pound stg. 19 million purchase of rival Blackheath Leisure.

Talarius floated last April as a shell company and acquired Quicksilver in a reverse takeover a month later.

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