Sell-offs and writedowns as Betfair gets back to basics

 

Betfair's new boss set the betting exchange on a new course today, selling off unwanted businesses and throwing the kitchen sink at the accounts with £81 million in writedowns.

Breon Corcoran, who joined in August from Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, wants to create a "leaner" exchange and is also stripping out an extra £20m in costs. About 100 of the firm's 2,000 staff have lost their jobs to date.

Corcoran said he is "going back to basics" on the exchange, which has more than 430,000 customers betting against each other on an array of events. This means sticking to the core business in the UK, Ireland, Italy and Spain and avoiding countries with uncertain regulatory regimes. It has already announced exits from Greece and Germany.

The chief executive wants to appeal to a broader range of customers by moving away from technical terms such as "back" and "lay", and boosting marketing investment in the UK. He is selling off a majority stake in its struggling financial exchange, LMAX, to a team of management and investors for £2.4m, while its minority stake in social-gaming company Kabam has been sold for £19m.

The firm, floated in October 2010 at 1300p a share, has seen a host of boardroom exits, including that of former chief executive David Yu. The shares today fell 3p to 761p.

Underlying profits fell 22 per cent to £21m in the six months to October 31, but £81m in impairment charges — including write-downs on development costs, LMAX and acquisitions in the US — tipped it £64 million into the red. This year, underlying profits will be £65m-£70m, well down on last year's £85.7m.

But Corcoran insists the core business is in good health and expects to take around £10 million in betting on the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year this weekend. He has his money on US Open champion Andy Murray at 20-1.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before