Betfair may pay shareholders $218 mln to fend off CVC-report

LONDON, May 5 (Reuters) - Online gambling firm Betfair is considering paying its shareholders 140 million pounds ($218 million) to fend off a hostile takeover from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, the Sunday Times newspaper said.

The newspaper said Betfair’s board was discussing the option this weekend ahead of a trading update on Tuesday. It rejected a $1.4 billion takeover approach from CVC on April 22, saying it was too low and had too many conditions attached.

Betfair was not immediately available to comment.

Citing insiders, the Sunday Times said that Betfair was likely to refrain from unveiling the special dividend this week, but was keeping the option open should CVC increase pressure on the company.

It said the cash may appease investors who have been unhappy with Betfair’s share price performance over the last three years.