AU Bookmaker Betstar Inks Acquisition Deal with UK Ladbrokes

Australian GamblingAustralian Betstar owner Alan Eskander, reportedly received the “big offer” that could make him change his mind about selling his Australian booking agency to a foreign betting firm. Earlier this week, the Sydney Morning Herald came out with a report that Eskander has agreed to ink an acquisition deal with UK Ladbrokes, which tendered a bid of between AU$20 million to AU&25 million to purchase Betstar.

In 2012, the 38-year old Betstar founder voiced his resolve against considering takeover bids coming from any of the foreign companies seeking to establish a legally-recognized presence in the “land down under’. However, the successful entry of top European firms like Paddy Power via Sportsbet acquisition, William Hill through its Sportingbet takeover and Bet365, which obtained an Aussie license to put up a subsidiary, made it difficult for independent operators like Alan Eskander and Tom Waterhouse to keep their online betting agencies way ahead of the growing competition.

In July 2013, Tom Waterhouse sold his online booking agency to William Hill in exchange for a AU$100 million purchase agreement, while Ladbrokes entered the Australian online gambling scene in August 2013, by acquiring from Gaming Investments for AUD$22.5 million. A month after the Ladbrokes-Gaming Investment deal, Eskander rephrased his previous vow by stating that a “big offer” could make him change his mind about selling Betstar.

Official announcements about the Ladbrokes’ Betstar purchase agreement will come out any time soon, and speculators are estimating that Ladbrokes’ second Aussie acquisition will increase its share of the Australian gambling pie by at least 5 percent. After all, Betstar still earns as much as AU$300 million annually from servicing a customer base of around 100,000 Aussie punters.

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Mark Whysall