Niche London firm Wallace & Partners is acting for Enic Gaming in the £6m sale of online gambling operator ukbetting.com to a newly-created company Ukbetting.
The Ukbetting bid is backed by former Las Vegas casino manager Eric Semel and advice to the purchaser is being provided by London commercial firm Stringer Saul. The deal is made up of £1.5m in cash, £1.5m in Ukbetting shares and an additional amount of up to £3m, depending on performance. The deal is conditional on the flotation of Ukbetting on AIM. The plan is to raise about £6m through an AIM placing, because ultimately the transaction will complete only if the the float is successful. Enic Gaming is a subsidiary of sports and media group Enic, which also owns Tottenham Hotspur FC. Wallace has a longstanding relationship with Enic, advising it on the original purchase of ukbetting.com in May last year, when Enic bought the fledgling company for just £500,000. Launched in August 1998, ukbetting.com was the UK's first internet bookmaker. In disposing of the company a year later, Enic has made a 500 per cent profit. John Woodhouse, who led the deal for Wallace, said: "It's pleasing to get this quality work. It's always good to work for Enic; it's just a shame it's sold what was an exciting part of its business." Enic has shelved its betting enterprises to concentrate on Tottenham Hotspur. Stringer Saul corporate partner Nigel Gordon said: "My clients are convinced that they can make more of it than perhaps Enic could." His firm's involvement came through a recommendation from another client. He added: "Our culture suits entrepreneurs and we have a way of working that strikes a chord with them." Semel and Ukbetting enter the market at a time when changes to betting duty make the UK an attractive home for bookmakers. Last week, Dublin bookmaker Paddy Power announced its intention to locate its online and telephone operations in the UK following the UK Government's decision to end betting duty in favour of a tax on gross profits.