Betfair lifts forecasts to fend off CVC bid


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The Independent Online

Bid target Betfair disappointed investors hoping for a quick cash payout, as the online gaming house set out its defence against CVC.

The private equity firm has made a tentative 880p a share offer, a figure widely assumed to be merely the opening gambit of what could be a long-running saga. City gossips and newspaper reports had Betfair returning cash to shareholders to keep them happy and fend off the bid.

In its end-of-year trading update, Betfair claimed revenues and profits would be at the top end of forecasts at £387m and £73m.

Promised cost savings of £20m are already up to £30m, and boss Breon Corcoran said: "We have a healthy balance sheet and a management team that is here for growth." CVC has until 13 May to table a formal bid, but that deadline could be extended. The shares gained 6p to 851p.

Numis noted: "Management hopes to make acquisitions which will add UK scale and/or new territories and products."