Fred Done reveals talks about sale of stake in Tote
Fred Done has confirmed he is in talks to sell a stake in the Tote to a consortium of racing figures which includes Merrill Lynch trader and racehorse owner Alex Frost.
It is understood the founder of Betfred has been approached by a number of groups about the Tote but this is the only consortium with which talks have become so advanced.
A 25 per cent stake is under discussion but Done said he would still call the shots over the Tote, which he bought for £265 million in 2011.
The Tote loses its exclusive pool betting licence in July with the racecourse project Britbet set to take them on.
Done said: "We've been approached by people who want to partner with us.
"We will still control the Tote, we will run it but they want to put a lot of marketing money in. They think there is big business to be done both nationally and internationally and have asked if they can take a partnership with us which we are just working on now.
"I cannot give you the details because it is still ongoing but yes, we are considering doing a partnership with them."
Done said he had not been directly involved in the talks but the final decision would be his.
He added: "Whether it happens or not is in the lap of the gods, we will just see where it goes but whatever happens we are sticking with the Tote, we are going to keep it.
"If you wanted me to nail something down, I would say within the next month we will know where we are going with this."
Britbet has the vast majority of British racecourses signed up, although Ascot has teamed up with Betfred for its own service AscotBet, Chester and Bangor will continue their own in-house operation and the Fred Done-owned Chelmsford will stick with the Tote.
However, while the Tote will disappear from nearly all Britain's tracks this summer, Britbet faces a challenge getting their product into high-street betting shops as Betfred have tied their partners in Tote Direct into a long-term deal.
Done added: "I do think whatever happens with the Tote there is a business to be run there because I still don't believe there is any liquidity for Britbet and I don't know where they are coming from with it.
"They have two problems, one they are going to have to find, in my belief, between £15 million and £20 million to put all the structure in. And two, where does the liquidity come from because the liquidity that we have got on all the Placepots, Jackpots and exotics comes from off-course, it doesn't come from on-course."