UK National Lottery looking for buyers


Two week window for offers?

The UK's national lottery Camelot's five shareholders have asked potential buyers to submit offers before the end of November in a bid to offload the lottery and realise what some analysts say could be as much as GBP 300 million.

Shareholders Cadbury Schweppes, Royal Mail Enterprises, De La Rue, Fujitsu Services and Thales Electronics are reportedly keen to sell off the lottery and were in discussions on the best way to approach such a deal earlier this year .

"The whole company is up for sale," a banker close to the deal told the Reuters news agency this week.

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, along with private equity houses and overseas lottery operators are believed to be among those who may be interested in the acquisition. Sugal & Damani, the Indian lottery giant that bid for the UK lottery licence two years ago, has also been suggested as a buyer.

Camelot makes an annual profit of about GBP 30 million. 80 percent of Camelot's income over ten years is believed to be worth about GBP 280 million.

In their bid for the licence back in April 2007, the current shareholders agreed with the government's National Lottery Commission to cut costs from 5 percent of turnover to 4 percent and reduce profits from 0.5 percent to between 0.3 and 0.4 percent.

Since then, lottery ticket and scratchcard sales have risen, despite the recession. Any buyer would have to be approved by the commission.

Camelot's undertaking to provide GBP 2.2 billion for the 2012 Olympic Games in London will ensure that any sale is monitored closely by the British government.

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