A consortium consisting of racehorse owners and breeders has agreed a deal worth up to £150m to secure the future of the iconic horse racing brand the Tote.
Bought from the UK government by Betfred owner Fred Done back in 2011, the Tote’s exclusive licence was set to expire in July but the Alizeti consortium has stepped in to purchase a 25 per cent share in the pool betting operation. They will have the option to own it outright within the next three to five years.
Alizeti is led by Alex Frost, who was previously one of the youngest ever Managing Directors at Merrill Lynch, and the deal will allow them to invest in the latest technology, as well as offer strong liquidity and better value for its customers.
Speaking about the deal, Fred Done said: “Following the purchase of the Tote in 2011 we have strived relentlessly to both expand the business and maintain our promises to government in respect of jobs and direct contribution to racing. Looking beyond our exclusive licence expiring in July I am convinced we will have an extremely strong business which is further boosted by this partnership deal. Alex and his team’s enthusiasm for racing coupled with their excellent vision for the future of the UK Tote is most impressive. It is for this reason I am delighted to join with Alizeti in moving the Tote forward to the next exciting chapter in its history.”
Frost was quick to pay tribute to Done before calling the deal a ‘defining moment’ for racing in Britain, saying: “Fred has achieved incredible things in the industry. He has delivered on all his promises regarding contributions to racing and securing jobs. I am tremendously excited about our shared vision for a truly iconic brand within the sport of horseracing, and for where the Tote can go next – both domestically and on a global stage.
“Our supporters are dedicated racing people who, collectively, own and train more than 1,000 racehorses worldwide – and we’re excited and determined to work together for the Tote. This is a defining moment for the future funding structure of British racing. We want the Tote to help secure racing’s finances for generations to come and I’m looking forward to sharing our progress with race fans about new products and technologies in due course.”
Frost also revealed that “positive talks” had taken place between the consortium and rivals Britbet, who were planning to launch their own pool betting operation across 55 racecourses this summer, about collaborating for a single UK pool betting solution powered by the Tote.
The deal has attracted support from some of the most powerful names in the sport, including leading trainer John Gosden who said: “The Tote is one of British racing’s most cherished brands and to see it revitalised to reach its past heights would be fantastic for the sport. This is absolutely the right team to make this happen. I am confident they can unite all stakeholders to help the industry at a time when it needs it most.”