Betfred eyes deal for Tote

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The bookmaker Betfred is talking to racecourse groups over setting up a new Tote racing development board. Betfred is vying with Sports Investment Partners (SIP), headed by British Airway's chairman Sir Martin Broughton, to buy the state-owned betting business.

SIP last week won the backing of the British horseracing industry for its bid, which is believed to value the Tote at £230m. But Betfred said yesterday its proposal would see it commit £120m towards horseracing over a seven-year period and it would create a new racing-development board. It also said its offer was worth £45m more than SIP's for the industry.

Ministers are expected to decide between the two bidders this week.