A planned merger with Paddy Power has already made 2015 a year to remember for the Betfair CEO.
In August, online betting giants Paddy Power and Betfair shook things up by announcing proposals for merger that would create one of the world’s biggest gambling companies: Paddy Power Betfair plc.
Ownership would be split between Paddy Power shareholders (52%) and Betfair shareholders (48%). Paddy Power’s chairman Gary McGann would chair the new group, Andy McCue of Paddy Power would become COO – and Breon Corcoran, CEO of Betfair, would become chief executive of the merged betting giant.
The reasoning was clear: scale, two strong brands, “cost and revenue synergies” of “approximately £50m”. The group would be headquartered in Dublin and have a premium listing on the LSE and a secondary listing on the Irish Stock Exchange. Based on last year’s figures the group’s combined annual revenues would be €1.5bn, not counting any future growth or synergies.
Gary McGann explained: “The merger of Paddy Power and Betfair will create a company of world-class capability and people who will deliver substantial up-front synergies and a platform for very exciting business expansion. The combination of Breon, Andy and their colleagues in this merger of equals comprises “the A team” in the business with the ambition to create a unique global player in a very dynamic industry.”
It was a big story for any number of reasons, but one of the most interesting factors is Breon Corcoran himself. The Mullingar man and Betfair CEO had a stellar career at Paddy Power, joining in 2001 and playing a pivotal role in its growth under chief executive Patrick Kennedy. Corcoran rose through the role of managing director (non-retail and development) and joined the board in 2004, becoming chief operating officer in August 2010. He previously worked at JP Morgan and Bankers Trust.
Then came the call from Betfair, the share price of which was languishing well below its October 2010 flotation level. In making the move from Paddy Power Corcoran replaced CEO David Yu at the world’s biggest betting exchange company – though he had a period of ‘gardening leave’ to work through before taking on the new role.
Once he finally took the helm Corcoran turned things around in spectacular fashion, the share price recovering and the company expanding in markets such as Italy and the US – and Ireland: the company announced a 40% rise in its Irish customer base last year.
Betfair’s most recent results under Corcoran, for the quarter ending July 31st, came in the wake of the merger announcement and saw a boost in revenues of 15%, and EBITDA up 19% to £41m.
“The proposed merger with Paddy Power is hugely exciting,” said Corcoran. “It would create a truly global sports betting group with unmatched products and talent, and significantly enhanced scale. The combined business would be one of the world’s largest online sports betting operators, with revenues totalling more than £1bn.”
As a lengthy and complicated merger process kicks off, those involved are taking a gamble of sorts – with Breon Corcoran in line to lead one of the world’s biggest betting companies.
- Corcoran made his name at Irish betting chain Paddy Power, rising to become chief operating officer before heading up Betfair.
- He had previously worked at JP Morgan, Bankers Trust, and startups such as Quaggo.com.
- Corcoran has an MBA from INSEAD and is a Trinity College Dublin graduate. He is originally from Mullingar.