TREASURY paid consultants $1.87 million for handling the sale of Tote Tasmania.

Tender documents show Investec Bank (Australia) was hired on August 30 to gauge buyer interest in the then state-owned betting agency, and was eventually paid 1.8 per cent of the $103 million asset sale price.

The six-month contract was for finding and liaising with potential buyers, evaluating offers, due diligence work and financial advice.

A government spokeswoman said it was satisfied with the amount of money paid to the consultants ``who were able to successfully achieve a very good sale price’‘.

The sale, which was finalised on March 26, drew criticism after valuations estimated that the asset was worth $130-170 million.

Opposition finance spokesman Peter Gutwein said taxpayers should be unhappy that consultants were paid that much to handle what he described as a dud deal.

``The Tasmanian community and taxpayer received less for the Tote than what experts suggested it was worth and I think the only people who will be happy about this deal will be the consultants,’’ Mr Gutwein said.

Auditor-General Mike Blake confirmed that he had begun reviewing the sale process, including the money paid to Investec, to ensure a fair and reasonable price was reached.


TOTE probe backs sale price

Posted July 24, 2012 10:43:05

Tasmania’s Auditor General has found the State Government got a fair price when it sold betting business TOTE

The Auditor General Mike Blake investigated whether the $103 million sale of TOTE last year was reasonable.

Tattersalls took over TOTE in March, shedding 130 jobs.

Mr Blake has found the price was well above the TOTE’s estimated worth of $43 million.

He was satisfied the Government considered factors including employee welfare, timeliness, the experience of Tattersalls and the impact on the racing industry.

However, Mr Blake also said the level of documentation provided by Treasury in relation to expert reports fell short of his expectations.

The TOTE is also the subject of a Tasmanian Parliamentary inquiry and a Supreme Court case in Melbourne, where liquidators are examining TOTE’s $5 million investment in failed agency Sports Alive.

ABC Online here