Betfair appoints two advisers ahead of flotation - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Betfair yesterday appointed Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as its financial advisers ahead of a flotation early in 2006.

The worlds biggest person-to-person betting exchange is understood to have taken the decision to press ahead with a flotation and has appointed the two banks to help it review options and provide strategic advice.

A London flotation early in 2006 would likely value the firm, which last month posted an 87pc rise in underlying full-year operating profits to £22.3m, at as much as £800m.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were appointed after a three-way pitch, which also involved UBS. Long-time adviser NM Rothschild will retain its position.

Betfair is chaired by former BP boss Sir Robert Horton and recently strengthened its board with the appointment of Justin Dowley, ex-head of investment banking at Merrill Lynch Europe, as a non-executive director.

The company was founded by Andrew Black and Edward Wray, who each own about 13.5pc of the shares. It will have been buoyed by the recent success of internet poker and casino operator Party Gaming.

Party Gaming had a tough few weeks in the run up to its flotation but its shares have since soared and closed yesterday at 161p, up 12p, compared to its flotation price of 116p.

Betfair and the two banks declined to comment beyond the announcement.

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