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Kevin Smith

UK, Australian Betting Brands Merge

9 August 2004

Pending Federal Court approval in Australia and shareholders signing off on the deal, two of the leading interactive betting operators in Australia and the UK will join forces.

Officials with International All Sports (IAS) and Canbet (CBT) announced on Friday that the two firms would be merging operations with CBT becoming a subsidiary of IAS.

Under the deal, which should be completed in two months, IAS will provide a line of credit to CBT of $1 million to assist the company with its immediate working operations.

In exchange for the line of credit, IAS will subscribe to 51 million shares in CBT at a price of 2.04 cents per share, representing a total investment of $1.04 million.

The deal will be finalized after approval from the Australian Federal Court and CBT shareholder, which executives expect will come in the next two months.

The new business will operate under the IAS banner with Canbet folded into the IAS corporate structure.

IAS executive chairman Mark Read said the merger makes sense for both companies which are trying to expand their market share in various global areas.

"Both have a desire to expand their product ranges and their operations in other regions of the world," he said. "The synergies and expansion goals of both companies were the driving forces behind this merger."

The combined entities of both firms should combine to form a formidable brand in the interactive gaming space. CBT has "substantial" asset and operating base in the UK, according to Read. IAS meanwhile, has carved out a niche as a horse betting operation with its main consumer base in the Australian market place.

Read said IAS had been eyeing the U.S. sports betting market for sometime now and with CBT in its stable it will have a good brand that already has a presence among U.S. punters.

The line of credit will be secured by a first mortgage over property held by CBT, IAS said.

Once IAS buys the shares of CBT, subject to CBT shareholder agreement, every 25 CBT shares will be exchanged for one IAS share, thereby merging the two entities into IAS.

Starting on Monday though, Read assumed management and operation of Canbet. In addition to Read's new position IAS chief executive officer Robert Edge became a board member of CBT, along with Read.

Read said IAS is not just getting a betting brand off of the scrap heap and the new combined efforts of IAS and CBT will form a leading online betting operation.

"IAS will have control and ownership of a quality Internet betting business," he said. "The united entity will have a turnover approaching $1 billion on current trading activity with IAS in excess of $500 million and CBT over $400 million."

CBT Chairman David De Campo said that IAS was an ideal merger partner since in the past CBT carved out its niche with punters as a sports betting operator, and never offered horse betting to its clients.

"The Board of CBT welcomes this opportunity to benefit from the trading skills and product offerings of IAS," he said. "The merging of our capabilities will reduce joint overheads while providing clients of both companies with a greater product range from one betting agency offering superior Internet trading facilities."

UK, Australian Betting Brands Merge is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith