Tote sell-off bogged down as valuation falls

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The Independent Online

The auction of the Tote, the Government-owned betting group, has been put back to June after delays at Goldman Sachs, which is handling the sell-off.

Goldman took over the role from PricewaterhouseCoopers last month, and was expected to send information memorandums to interested parties this week.

But the tortuous sale of the Tote and its 540 shops, a 2001 Labour manifesto pledge, is set to continue amid concerns about how much the operation will fetch in the current financial climate.

The Tote originally carried a price tag of £400m but is now expected to earn the Government nearer £300m.

Bookies Gala Coral, BetFred and Paddy Power are all thought to be interested. Private equity firms Charterhouse, Bridgepoint and Permira, as well as broker Cenkos, run by racing owner Andy Stewart, are thought to have requested bid information.

David Harding, the former chief executive of William Hill, is also thought to be mounting a bid.