Entain sells Betdaq back to former owner Dermot Desmond

Entain took on Betdaq when it acquired Ladbrokes Coral in 2018.
Entain took on Betdaq when it acquired Ladbrokes Coral in 2018.

Entain Plc has confirmed that it has sold the online betting exchange back to Desmond for an undisclosed fee. 

UK.- The FTSE100 gambling group Entain has sold the online betting exchange Betdaq to Irish businessman Dermot Desmond. The price of the transaction has not been revealed, but it’s reported to be well under £25m.

The deal means the UK’s second-largest betting exchange returns to its original owner, who invested in Betdaq during the early days of online gambling. Alderney-based and Gibraltar-licensed, Betdaq began operating in 2001 and was sold to Ladbrokes for €30m in 2013.

Ladbrokes and Coral merged in 2015, a deal that Desmond vocally opposed, to create Ladbrokes Coral Plc. That company was bought by Entain, then GVC Holdings, in 2018.

From December 1, customer funds held on LC International Limited’s behalf by Ladbrokes will be transferred to Betdaq Trustee Company Limited on behalf of Exchange Platform Solutions Limited. Customer account history will remain available online in the same way.

Betdaq remains the main rival to Betfair’s dominance of the betting exchange market. It has tried to expand player liquidity against Betfair by cutting its exchange commissions to 2 per cent across all markets but it faces a tough challenge in terms of marketing and tech to match Betfair’s position.

Earlier this week Entain was reported to be pursuing a possible acquisition of Estonia’s Olympic Entertainment Group, one of the largest gambling companies in the Baltic region. According to Bloomberg, it’s made an all-cash offer worth more than $1bn for the Lithuanian and Croatian part of the business with an option to buy the rest in 2023.

Entain itself was recently subject to a takeover approach from US sports betting giant DraftKings, however DraftKings decided against making a firm offer.

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