CVC Capital Partners, the majority owners of Sky Bet, has hired bankers from Rothschild in the next step towards an initial public offering for the online gambling firm which aims to raise up to £3bn.

The London-based private equity group acquired a controlling stake in Sky Bet in 2014, valuing it at £800m at the time. The British broadcaster Sky, which founded the Leeds-based gambling group in 2001, has retained a 20 per cent share while providing a long-term license to use the Sky brand.

According to people close to the proposed deal, the investment bank Rothschild has been hired to examine a potential stock market listing for Sky Bet and has been tasked with raising interest from banks to arrange the IPO.

The people said that the float could raise between £2.5-£3bn. The news was first reported by the Reuters news agency,

CVC and Sky Bet both declined to comment.

Sky Bet’s business has boomed in recent years, boosted by punters who are increasingly switching from laying wagers in stores in favour of placing their bets through mobile devices.

In the year to 30 June 2017, Sky Bet’s annual revenues increased 38 per cent to £516m, while its total number of customers increased 31 per cent to 2.6m.

In the search for growth, the company has also been eyeing international expansion, hoping to take advantage of deals by the UK-based Sky broadcaster also acquiring control of Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia from 21st Century Fox in 2014. Sky Bet launched an Italian gambling site last year and has hired staff in Germany with a view to operating in the country.

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