Betfair Q1 revenue falls 13 pct as narrows focus

Thu Sep 5, 2013 2:26am EDT

LONDON, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Online gambling company Betfair reported a 13 percent decline in quarterly revenues on Thursday, reflecting its decision to focus on a smaller group of markets where regulation is better defined.

Profitablity in the form of underlying EBITDA rose 16 percent to 24.9 million pounds ($38.9 million) in the three months to the end of July, helped by cost cutting.

"Betfair's first quarter performance is in line with our plan and leaves us on track to meet our expectations for the full year," Chief Executive Breon Corcoran said in a statement.

Launched in 2000 as an innovative online exchange where gamblers could bet against each other, the company now also offers more conventional fixed-odds betting on sports events to cater for a broader audience.

Betfair has been forced to defend its strategy after rejecting a 1 billion pound ($1.5 billion) takeover by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners in May.

Corcoran, who has been in the job for a year, is targeting cost savings of 30 million pounds as well as retreating from markets where regulatory or tax hurdles are too high.

Investors have warmed to the strategy in recent weeks, pushing the shares up to 992p, above the 950 pence per share CVC offer that was rejected.

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