Boylesports seeking takeover targets amid UK expansion plans
Published 06/11/2014 |
Boylesports founder John Boyle says he is eyeing expansion into the UK betting market, but will not do it in a piecemeal fashion.
The businessman, who founded the company in 1982, said he will step back to chairman of the company if he can find a chief executive to take over the management of Boylesports.
In an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, John Boyle said his 198 strong chain of betting shops is close to the limits of its expansion within Ireland.
Britain is the logical next step, he said. Boylesports considered a €525m bid for the UK’s Tote in 2008, but after the financial crisis deepened the company pulled back from overseas expansion plans.
The attraction of the then UK state -owned Tote was its 540 strong chain of betting shops. The company is again eyeing expansion through a major takeover, but has yet to identify a suitable target, John Boyle revealed.
“A big push into the UK would be one of the next steps for the business,” Mr Boyle said.
“And if it happens it will be done in scale. Now that we are debt free we would have backing from the banks,” he said.
The shift will have some implications for around 10 of the company’s close to 1,500 staff, but the bigger impact is likely to be easing its entry into the main UK market.
Boylesports is a private company, but its owner says the business is profitable, debt free and growth-oriented.
“Another option is to sell. I have had good offers in the past – I was getting offered scary numbers. But that was never part of my plan,” he added.
Rather than sell, however, his preferred option is to now tap a chief executive to take operational control of the business and continue its growth path.
“I was always looking for someone to come along and take my role, always looking for a good ceo.
“But to get someone who would have that passion and care, not just do the job, that’s the challenge,” he said.
If a candidate can be identified he would step back into a chairman’s role, Mr Boyle added.
The head of the country’s biggest independent bookmakers said he expects the number of betting shops here to shrink, compensated by the industry’s growth online.
“We have lost 400 stores and will probably level out at losing another 200 stores in Ireland.”
Filed under: Tony Quinn |