Former Sportech director hopes to buy The Football Pools

ianhoggA former director of Walton-based Sportech is hoping to buy the firm’s football pools arm in a deal that could be worth around £100m.

As reported in the Liverpool Echo, Sportech’s former chief operating officer Ian Hogg is one of several potential bidders for the group’s subsidiary, known as The Football Pools. He was at Sportech for four years until he stepped down in 2014.

Mr Hogg is said to be planning to raise the cash to buy the pools business through a stock market flotation that would see it operate as a standalone business. Currently, it is part of a group that also includes gambling and technology businesses in the US.

Sportech’s pools business was formed in recent decades through the acquisition and merger of former brands such as Littlewoods, Vernons and Zetters. At the height of its popularity, more than 10m people filled in the football coupons each week. Today, more than 300,000 play an online version.

Any sale of its football pools arm would help strengthen Sportech’s balance sheet. Sportech’s share price has struggled under the weight of its debts of around £60m, but these would be more than wiped out by the proceeds of a sale.

Sportech’s shareholders could also benefit from a £90m windfall if the group wins a VAT dispute with HM Customs & Excise. The group is claiming it has overpaid VAT on its Spot the Ball game. A hearing is set for the Court of Appeal in April.

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