Betfair boss prepares for £1.5m IPO. Again

In 2005, Wray also flirted with flotation. But, again, despite ideal market conditions, the entrepreneur decided to postpone the IPO and focus on growth.

Could this be third time lucky for the Betfair boss?

Betfair issued a press release earlier today confirming that the firm's 14 biggest investors, including founders Andrew Black and Edward Wray, will sell at least 10 per cent of their shares in an IPO later this year.

The company is certainly fighting fit. Betfair is now one of the largest international online sports betting providers in the world. Gamblers in 140 countries can place wagers through the service, and the online gambling market is more than buoyant: it will be worth a whopping $32.6 billion by 2012.

Revenues at Betfair Group are at an all-time high, with a 13 per cent increase in turnover this financial year putting the latest turnover figure at £341m. Profits are pretty juicy too:  EBITDA stands at £53.5m. The betting platform has grown by a minimum of ten per cent every year since inception. There has also been continuous R&D investment: last year saw the firm roll out its new £25m betting platform.

Wray says of the IPO announcement: ''Today is an important landmark in Betfair's story, which has been characterised by extraordinary innovation, success, growth and profitability since its launch ten years ago.

"Becoming a publicly listed company will provide Betfair with the heightened profile and enhanced transparency that will help us cement our long-term relationships with customers, regulators and business partners around the world.''

Undeniably, it is the perfect time to float. The business had £150m in the bank as of April this year, with zero debt, so this IPO is unlikely to be an attempt to raise cash. Betfair may be on the acquisition trail, or, the most likely scenario, the stakeholders are simply looking to exit the business.

Either way, the flotation is scheduled for the end of October. But will Wray go through with the IPO  this time?

Third time's a charm.

Watch our interview with Betfair co-founder Andrew Black below.


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