Sportech scares the horses with profit alert

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
The listed pool betting group Sportech will shock investors by unveiling a profit warning on Wednesday morning, even as it continues talks with potential buyers of the company.
Sky News has learnt that Sportech, the former owner of the Football Pools business, will disclose in a stock exchange announcement that full-year earnings will be materially impacted by accounting issues uncovered by its board.
The nature of the accounting issues to be highlighted by Sportech was unclear on Tuesday evening.The announcement will come six weeks before the company is due to announce preliminary results for last year.Sportech, which operates pool betting services and supplies technology to the global racing and betting industries, has a big presence in American sports venues.It has more than 27,000 betting terminals in operation in 37 countries, processing roughly $11bn of bets each year.
The company is run by executive chairman Richard McGuire, who took over in the autumn.Ian Penrose, the former chief executive, and Mickey Kalifa, the finance director, both quit Sportech in September, having returned €21m from the sale of the Football Pools to investors.Sportech, which had a market value at the close of trading on Tuesday of about €125m, put itself up for sale last autumn after receiving a number of bid approaches.
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In January, it said it had extended the timetable for seeking valid offers "through the first quarter of 2018".Sportech declined to comment.
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