Monday, January 26, 2009

Foxy Bingo stake up for sale? - 25th January 2009

A 20% stake in Foxy Bingo may be up for sale after one of its investors said they were looking to sell assets.

Independent News & Media plc, Ireland's largest publisher and the owner of the Independent newspaper in the UK, said that it was looking to offload non-core assets to meet a €200 million payment due later this year.

The bond was expected to have been met by the sale of INM' stake in Australian media company APN News and Media.

Analysts said likely candidates for a sale were INM's 20% stake in Cashcade, the owner of Foxy Bingo, Think Bingo and Bingo Scotland, or its stake in Verivox, a price-comparison site in Germany, and an African outdoor advertising operation.

INM said it would be “pursuing alternative strategies to secure sufficient capital to both de-leverage and de-risk its balance sheet, with a focus on free cash flow generation”.

Cashcade has been the subject of interest from various companies in the past 12 months, including 888.com and investment vehicle Praesepe. A bid from 888.com was rumoured to have got within days of completion, only for investors to back out of loaning the money for a takeover because of the credit crunch.

Other investors in Cashcade including Michael Buckley, who is the company chairman, Michael Tabor, the super wealthy investor and former bookmaker and Irish billionaire Dermot Desmond. The management team owns approximately 20 per cent of the business.

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