Home » British billionaire Fred Done beats out Mary Slack-Oppenheimer to acquire Betting World in South Africa

British billionaire Fred Done beats out Mary Slack-Oppenheimer to acquire Betting World in South Africa

by Editorial Team
Mary Slack

British billionaire Fred Done’s London-based gambling company Betfred has secured a controlling stake in the struggling South African betting company, Betting World. 

Betting World is owned by Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Ltd. 

Betfred beat Mary Oppenheimer Daughters (OMD) in the bid to acquire the company. 

Mary Oppenheimer Daughters is the investment fund of horse enthusiasts Mary Oppenheimer-Slack and her daughter Jessica Jell. They are members of South Africa’s renowned Oppenheimer family, who have significant global mining interests.

Last August, Betfred put in a bid between ZAR 875 and 925 million ($64.42- $68.1 million) compared to OMD’s ZAR 550 million ($40.49 million) rescue package to acquire the dying gambler, Betting World. 

The company conducted the deal through the newly formed Betfred South Africa brand at a purchasing price of R120 million ($8.83 million), subject to future adjustment based on the net capital of working items. Through the acquisition, Done will gain access to the South African market. SBC News reported that the transaction officially concluded on May 31. 

Financially troubled Phumelela 

Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Ltd. is a licensed bookmaker regulated by the Gauteng Gambling Board. The company operates horse-racing and totalisator betting in seven of South Africa’s nine provinces. It is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Phumelela’s main shareholder Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust (26.72 percent shareholder) is a not-for-profit entity formed upon the request of the Gauteng Provincial Government.

Last year, the economic challenges that surfaced alongside the COVID-19 epidemic took a severe toll on businesses in South Africa, including the gambling company.

In May 2020, Reuters reported that Phumelela was among several distressed firms filing for business rescue, a local form of bankruptcy protection, after a nationwide lockdown suspended activities in the horseracing industry. Subsequently, the Johannesburg High Court placed Phumelela’s assets under bankruptcy protection, allowing it to seek investors to avoid outright liquidation.

The Sunday Times estimated Done’s net work at £1.2 billion in 2020.

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