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Formula One a better bet?

WHAT should we make of this week's planned sale by Bernie Ecclestone of a half-share in his Formula One Holdings business for pounds 787 million?

The buyer is Morgan Grenfell Private Equity, the venture arm of German banker Deutsche Bank, which, betting insiders will remember, was in the throes of extracting the Coral empire from the grasp of Ladbrokes a year ago.

They won the day at pounds 390 million, which at the time was hailed as the biggest amount they had spent on a purchase.

Whether they still regard the deal as value for money, only the number-crunchers know. But Tote chairman Peter Jones, one of the underbidders, did point out this week that Coral's recent performance - along with most other bookmaking firms' - has probably shocked the new backers.

Perhaps MGPE believe they are on firmer ground on the motor-racing circuit.

At the least they should have an excellent line to Grand Prix odds.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Wright, Howard
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 29, 1999
Words:155
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