Sir Richard Branson eyes a Camelot takeover

Saturday November 14th 2009

After four of the five Camelot shareholders appointed investment banks to sell their stakes in the business, Sir Richard Branson eyes a Camelot takeover. Each of the shareholders has an equal 20% share of Camelot, who operates the National Lottery in the UK. The only shareholder remaining who is not involved in the sell-off process at present is Royal Mail.

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However, there have been indications that Royal Mail may also sell their share of the lottery operator to the winning bidder once the auction ends. Sir Richard Branson has failed several times in his bids to operate the UK National Lottery, but a winning bid from him for the 80% stake that is up for sale could make Branson a majority share holder in the company that currently operates the National Lottery.

Camelot makes an annual profit of around £30 million from the National Lottery, which has caused widespread controversy over the years. In turn it was surprising that the non-profit making, Peoples lottery, offered by Branson in his previous bids for the licence to operate the National Lottery, failed on two occasions in favour of Camelot.

Other bidders for the stakes in Camelot are Sugal & Damani, who are an Indian Lottery operator and interestingly, made a failed bid for the National Lottery license two years ago.

Despite the economic downturn, sales for the National Lottery have increased. Not only do more people buy lottery tickets, but scratch-card sales have increased too.

The Government will be no doubt, monitoring the situation very closely considering the pledge of £2.2 billion from Camelot, for the 2012 Olympic Games.

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