Everyone's a winner, including Angus Deayton

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The Independent Online

Michael Edelson, the financier known as the Shellmeister, is to float a premium-rate telephone game, which promises every contestant a prize, on the junior AIM market for about £20m.

Mr Edelson is using his cash shell, Chestnut, to buy the game, called Everyone's a Winner, from Felix Corporation, a private entity run by Alasdair Waddell, the former chief executive of Lumiere Pictures, and Andrew Egan, a former stuntman and sponsorship negotiator.

Chestnut, which counts the comedians Angus Deayton and David Baddiel among its investors, will then rename itself Felix Group, which will float on Monday.

The company will this year use £1.5m of cash in Chestnut to fund its expansion, which involves putting vending machines into pubs and retail outlets. Customers, spending £1 or £2 for a go at the game, will win prizes including a voucher for a free drink or a bottle of wine to go with a meal.

Those spending more, over premium-rate telephone lines, could win cars and vouchers for goods at Dixons and Kingfisher's DIY outlets. "Contestants get retail goods which are twice what they spend, or if they spend £5 over a premium-rate telephone line, they could receive a £10 Dixons voucher, or a car," Mr Waddell said.

While Mr Waddell will run the new company, Mr Edelson will retain a stake in the business. The initial price Chestnut will pay for the gaming business will be £11.4m, though Felix's owners could get another £24m in shares, depending on profits over the next three-year period.

Felix reported revenue of just over £500,000 from premium-rate lines in the year to last August. It also plans to roll out the game to satellite TV channels.

Everyone's a Winner generates returns by getting retailers to supply prizes at knock-down prices in return for being able to promote particular brands as the prizes.

By paying out vouchers, retailers can also boost the number of customers coming into their shops.