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New trust to run Peterborough venues

Key Theatre among council-owned cultural facilities to be operated by Vivacity

By Martin Nash

Peterborough City Council (PCC) has announced that a new trust will take over responsibility for the opera- tion of culture and leisure venues on 1 May under a 25-year deal. Trust officials have already

launched the new 'Vivacity' brand in a bid to encourage more people to use the facilities, which include sports centres, the Key Theatre and Peterborough Museum. The trust is applying for

charitable status that will exclude it from business rates and to secure other financial benefits, including access to funding sources not open to the council. Existing cultural and sport

service staff members have transferred into the new trust, with employment and pension conditions set to be protected


Praesepe unveils bid for bingo operator

Bingo hall operator Beacon

The council hopes that the move will increase use of the venues

under Transfer of Undertak- ings regulations. Trust chair Shelagh Smith

said: "Recent reports indicate that many councils expect budget cuts in discretionary services such as libraries and sports facilities. "However, our business plan

has been designed to identify new sources of funding so

Ladbrokes to make French move

By Pete Hayman

UK-based bookmaker Lad- brokes has revealed that it has secured a conditional joint venture agreement with France-based broadcaster, Groupe CANAL+ (GC). The company will now make

its first move into the French market as part of the agree- ment, which will see the launch of an online betting and gaming service regulated by the national government. It is expected that the new

service, which will adopt a brand name to reflect its association with GC, will be unveiled later in 2010. John O'Reilly, managing

director of remote betting and

© Cybertrek 2010

The UK-based bookmaker has agreed a deal with CANAL +

gaming for the UK-based bookmaker, said: "Canal+ is a brand that is synonymous with sport in France. We believe that there is an opportunity to build a good business in France over time as the market and regulation develop."

that we can improve cultural services and to give local people more opportunities to enjoy cultural and leisure activities in Peterborough." Vivacity will be run by a

board of six. The six members include Shelagh Smith, a lawyer and Richard Astle, director of the Greater Peterborough Partnership.

Camelot to be sold to OTPP

Canada-based Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) is set to acquire National Lottery operator Camelot in a deal worth around £389m. Completion of the

purchase is subject to the approval of the UK lottery regulator, the National Lottery Commission, after Camelot shareholders agreed to sell their holdings to OTPP. OTPP – known

colloquially as Teachers' – is the independent group currently responsible for administering the pension fund of 289,000 active and retired teachers.

Entertainment is set to be acquired by Praesepe after the gaming group announced that it had secured a conditional agreement. The AIM-listed Praesepe – which currently owns 54 sites across the UK – is set to pay around £5m for a maximum of nearly 67m for Beacon, as well as assuming £40m worth of existing bank debt. PricewaterhouseCoopers advised Beacon Entertainment as part of the deal, which is currently under the ownership of a consortium of UK banks.

Downturn hits 888 Holdings revenues

Online gaming operator 888

Holdings has reported a 6 per cent drop in total operating income for the year ending 31 December 2009 as a result of the downturn. Casino revenue declined by 11 per cent to US$118.7m (£77.9m) and poker revenue fell by nearly 28 per cent to US$51.6m (£33.8m). However, the company's new Dragonfish B2B division performed well and secured a number of partnership agreements during the year.

Marston's sees positive half-year trading

Marston's has reported a 1.4 per cent increase in like-for-like sales in its managed pubs business for the 26 weeks ending 3 April 2009. Like-for-like food sales at its Inns and Taverns division grew by 2.5 per cent, while Easter trading was "slightly ahead" of figures for the same period last year. However, the group's tenanted and leased pubs business – Marston's Pub Company – posted a decline of 4.6 per cent in like-for-like profits; compared with a 4.9 per cent drop reported in January.

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