Online Sports Betting Exchange, Betfair, Confirms UK MD To Leave; German Exit Plus Regional Staff Cuts Point To Strategic Review

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Online sports betting exchange Betfair has confirmed its UK MD, Peter Marcus, is leaving the company. Marcus, who was hired just over a year ago, oversees its UK-facing business including the Sports Exchange, Poker and Casino products — which account for around half of Betfair’s total revenues. We’ve contacted Betfair for a statement and will update with any response.

CEO Breon Corcoran, who took up the reins this August, is reportedly undertaking a strategic review of Betfair’s global operations, according to various gambling trade publications – although the company would not confirm any restructuring when contacted today for comment. GamblingKingz quotes analyst Morgan Stanley’s view that “new management is making ongoing changes to the geographic profile of the business”.

Last week Betfair announced it was pulling its exchange from Germany because of a higher tax rate of five percent on sports betting stakes. The FT reported the company’s statement that the new tax rate would make its exchange model “unviable”. It also recently emerged Betfair would be reducing headcount in “selected regional operations” — namely the Nordics, Asia and Eastern Europe.

The company is due to announce interim results on December 13 — so expect Corcoran to put a bit more meat on the bones of his grand (or not-so-grand) plan next month.

Since Betfair’s 2010 IPO, we haven’t written much about the UK-based peer-to-peer betting exchange — largely because, despite some attempts to expand (legal) betting activity in the US, the hoped for broader regulatory reprieve has failed to materialise.

Betfair has also been through the mill in recent years. It shed around half its value within months of its 2010 flotation on the London Stock Exchange — leading to a plan to buy back £50 million in shares. Then-CEO David Yu also decided he would not renew his contract. Yu was eventually replaced by Corcoran.

Today the company’s shares are trading at just over half the value of the £13 per share IPO offer price.