Betfred’s last minute effort to acquire bankrupt South African heritage wagering and racetrack operator Phumelela Gaming & Leisure is said to have been denied.
South African racing news sources announced that Phumelela ‘s bankruptcy auditor declined to review Betfred’s counteroffer to ZAR 900 million ( € 45 million) submitted in late August as Phumelela closed its rescue proposals window.
Betfred, declaring his intention to acquire Phumelela outright, tabled a rescue package twice the value of Phumelela’s only alternative deal offered by ‘Mary Oppenheimer Daughters’ (MOD) – Mary Oppenheimer-Slack’s private investment fund and her daughter Jessica Jell, members of the richest mining family in South Africa.
Betfred’s considerably larger plan stressed that the UK bookmaker would pay off Phumelela’s ZAR 677 million debtors immediately, while retaining all of the company’s employees for a planned renovation of the racetrack assets of the South African operator that would be upgraded to its Tote wagering systems.
Phumelela ‘s auditor closed his hearings on Tuesday, announcing MOD as the chosen rescue strategy for the company and postponing all options for exploring more investment opportunities.
The auditor defended MOD’s original plan, arguing that its bid had previously secured Phumelela creditors’ outright backing, and that Betfred had merely declared his intention to acquire Phumelela but had not put forward a legally binding proposal.
Oppenheimer’s MOD fund had been listed as one of Phumelela ‘s creditors at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, having given the company a ZAR 100 million loan.
Under the rescue plan of MOD the Oppenheimer family will pay ZAR 480 million to purchase the racetrack and broadcast properties of Phumelela, separating the assets from the leisure and land holdings of the company.
MOD will also launch a ZAR 550 million post-conflict fund, ensuring a payment plan for existing creditors of the group, which currently amounts to a combined ZAR 1,17 billion ( € 55 million).