27 March 2006

Racing rights intrigue

Craig Young in the Sydney Morning Herald has been well-briefed on a move by the Packer camp to buy into the premium TVN racing vision channel for a reputed AUD40 million for a 50 per cent stake. The bid seems cheap for the rights to an intellectual property regime that will accrue hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in coming years once interactive gambling and digital television consummate their love match with the mooted approval of the Howard Government. As is customary with Packer family deals, you can bet London to a brick that with a 50 per cent stake in the Australian licence of Betfair, the synergies are much more attractive for PBL than the major metropolitan raceclubs that own TVN. Although simple swap of stakes - 50-50 TVN for Betfair could be the dealbreaker that will bring the raceclubs on board. In NSW, at least, the Australian Jockey Club and Sydney Turf Club wouldn't be in this mess if they'd negotiated a stake in the NSW TAB when it was privatised back in the mid 1990s. Buying into a new and emerging interactive betting platform like Betfair makes sense.

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