Page last updated at 23:29 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

National Lottery owner Camelot sold to Canada teachers

National Lottery balls
The UK Lottery now runs a number of draws during the week

National Lottery operator Camelot has been sold to a Canadian teachers' pension fund for £389m.

The company, currently owned by a consortium that includes Cadbury, has been running the UK's National Lottery since it began in 1994.

The sale will be looked at by the regulator, the National Lottery Commission.

One of the factors in its decision will be whether or not the national interest will be served by the sale.

Camelot's proposed buyer, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan - known simply as Teachers' - runs the pension fund for more than a quarter of a million Canadian teachers.

It already has a wide range of investments in the UK, including Birmingham and Bristol airports and a 27% stake in Northumbrian Water.

The National Lottery Commission's chief executive, Mark Harris, said: "We will scrutinise the proposal to ensure that the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is fit and proper to take over the running of the National Lottery and that the commitments we secured for the National Lottery, players and good causes during the licence competition are safeguarded."

Patience

Wayne Kozun, Teachers' senior vice-president for public equities, said the company was a long-term investor: "We look forward to partnering with management to realise the full potential of the Camelot business over the remaining licence term and into the future."

Last year, Camelot was given a 10-year licence to run the Lottery - its third stint as operator.

Camelot's chief executive, Dianne Thompson, said of the £389m ($583m) sale: "We welcome Teachers' commitment to The National Lottery's ongoing success, and look forward to the opportunity of working with them."

Sales of the game, which raises money for a range of good causes, have been rising recently, despite - or perhaps because of - the economic downturn.

Camelot said part of the reason for its recent success was also due to the growing number of people choosing to play online or via their mobile phones.

The National Lottery Commission will take up to three months to consider the proposal.



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