Betfair looks to restructure its workforce
Betfair is parting company with its UK director and is also has started to lay off many of its staff, indeed some 50 translators. This is the first evidence of a strategy shift since the arrival of the companies new chief executive.
Peter Marcus, who was recruited from William Hill just 14 months ago to lead Betfair’s UK sports exchange, poker and casino, has confirmed he is in discussions over his departure to the Times Newspaper, in a recent interview. The business Marcus was responsible for accounts for over 50% of Betfair’s revenues.
He is expected to leave in the next few days. The group declined to comment on these reports.
His planned exit is one of a number of changes likely to shake up the group as it begins a new era under Breon Corcoran, who joined as chief executive from Paddy Power in August.
Mr Corcoran has been conducting a strategic review of the business and will announce his conclusions at Betfair’s interim results on December 13.
But the restructuring of the business appears to be already under way after Betfair said it was reducing the number of languages it was making available on websites in Asia, eastern Europe and Nordic countries in order to focus on countries that were “more strategically attractive”.
Betfair said: “We are concentrating more on some countries than others.”
Its departure from some of its markets comes amid a tightening squeeze by some countries on gambling operators through stiff regulation and taxation, and pressure from investors to avoid “grey” or unregulated markets.
Betfair has alreadyannounced it was withdrawing from Germany after failing to persuade its authorities that it should not be subject to a 5% turnover tax on sports betting stakes.
The turnover tax has rendered its exchange business “unviable”, and with only small operations remaining, it is likely to pull out of Germany altogether.
The German exchange was contributing £6m before costs, and Betfair may incur a one-off cost of up to £25m in tax liabilities.
Betfair declined to name which countries would have reduced translation services. Although it denied it was pulling out of those markets, Betfair said it would no longer try and acquire new customers in those countries and would reduce its marketing spending there.
Betfair, founded in 1999, has more than 2,000 people on its payroll, with a heavy emphasis on technology staff.