Possible French bid for UK lottery


State gambling monopoly joins the list of possible Camelot buyers

Christophe Blanchard-Dignac, the chief exective of the French state gambling monopoly Francaise des Jeux, says his company is considering entering the bidding for British lottery firm Camelot, which operates the British national lottery.

Speaking to Radio Classique today (Monday) Blanchard-Dignac revealed that the FdJ group was "....looking at the possibility of acquiring, or not" Camelot.

"Decisions must be taken in the next few weeks," the senior executive said, adding that calls for tenders must be addressed by the end of February 2010.

Management will have to consult with the FdJ board of directors before making an offer, but the company is well positioned to make a competitive bid; last week it reported record turnover of Euro 10 billion for 2009, making it the world's second biggest lottery group after Italy's Lottomatica.

The French government controls 72 percent of FdJ's capital, with military veteran groups and staff holding the remaining stock.

Camelot and FdJ are no strangers to one another; the two companies have been cooperating for years, launching the Euro Millions lottery together in 2004. The two companies are also working together on a world lottery project.

Agence France Presse reports that thus far there are six likely contenders for Camelot.

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