Betfred has established a presence in the South African betting industry by purchasing Betting World (bettingworld.co.za) from Phumelela, which will be operated under the Betfred South Africa brand.
The deal was reported to have been completed on May 31 at a purchase price of R120 million (£6.1 million), subject to final adjustments relating to the net capital of working items.
Phumelela business rescue practitioner John Evans, who is in charge of the historical South African racetrack operator’s bankruptcy proceedings, is said to have revealed the purchase of Phumelela’s internet betting vertical.
Phumelela Gaming and Leisure filed for South African bankruptcy protection last summer, and the company’s stock was suspended on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
After the Johannesburg High Court placed the company’s assets under bankruptcy protection, Fred Done’s Betfred indicated interest in the financially distressed corporation, pushing the company to seek more investors in order to avoid total liquidation.
Obligation to sell
Following an agreement on a business rescue plan, Phumelela was obliged to sell its South African racetracks to creditors.
The Manchester bookmaker competed against a fund headed by racing enthusiast Mary Oppenheimer-Slack and her daughter Jessica Jell – members of South Africa’s richest mining family – to buy all Phumelela racecourse facilities for ZAR 875-925 million (€44-46 million).
Despite its substantially higher rescue offer, Betfred’s approach was rejected by auditors, who had agreed to support the Oppenheimer fund as a Phumelela business creditor.
According to South African business news sources, Betfred’s acquisition of World Betting represents a game-changer for South Africa’s sports betting market, which has been jealously walled for domestic incumbents up until now.
Betfred has yet to make a formal remark on its acquisition of Phumelela’s World Betting, which was revealed by rescuers.