16th of September 2010 Author: Glo Wood
Late autumn bidding date likely
The new UK coalition government is to follow its predecessors in attempting once again to sell the Tote bookmaking organisation, reports the newspaper CityAM.
It is expected that the sale of the state-owned bookie will take place in the late autumn, according to minister for tourism and heritage John Penrose in a statement to parliament Wednesday.
CityAM notes that the disposal of the Tote, which takes bets on horse racing, football and other sports, forms part of a wider sale of government assets as the country strives to close a yawning budget gap.
'This process will be open to all organisations who have an interest in the Tote, and the government expects to be in a position to update the House early in the new year,' said the minister.
Private-sector rivals such as Paddy Power and Ladbrokes have previously said they could be interested, but only at the right price.
The previous Labour government's attempts to sell Tote were cancelled in 2008 due to poor market conditions. The company was thought to be worth upwards of GBP300 million at the time.
Current Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced in his June emergency budget that he planned a future for Tote that 'secures value for the taxpayers'. It will now be put onto the open market.
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