Post Office in talks over boosting Camelot stake

The Post Office is talking to Camelot consortium members about increasing its proposed stake in the National Lottery operator in a move that could see it become the largest shareholder.

A Post Office spokeswoman this week confirmed that the organisation is holding talks with consortium members ICL, De La Rue and Cadbury Schweppes about how Camelot will be restructured after another member, Racal, sells its 26.66 per cent share.

Defence giant Racal is being taken over by French rival Thomson CSF, which says it is likely to dispose of the shares and is discussing ways of doing this.

The existing Camelot shareholders ICL, which has 20 per cent, De La Rue, and Cadbury Schweppes, both with 26.66 per cent, have first refusal on buying the stake.

But they have already agreed to each give up a part of their holdings so the Post Office can take a 20 per cent holding – exclusive of the redistribution of Racal shares – if Camelot wins its bid to run the next National Lottery licence from 2001.

A Post Office spokeswoman says: “The shareholders are talking about Racal’s share, and the Post Office is involved. It is talking about the possibility of increasing its stake.”

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