Paddy Power’s executives really have a way of words.
In its official 2014 preliminary results announcement, the betting shop said it paid out “gazillions” on the “betting equivalent of Billy Bob Thornton landing Angelina Jolie.” Paddy Power was referring to bookies paying pundits on football related accumulators.
An accumulator bet is when a pundit combines four or more selection bets into a single wager. The person only gets a return if all parts of that bet wins. It pays out a considerable amount because the proposed return is usually high as there is a very slim chance of you winning the bet.
It didn’t say what the ‘gazillions’ translated too but it was funny nonetheless.
But, boy, did Paddy Power use some more choice words to describe its 2014 results (emphasis ours):
“Last year had more ups and downs than Taylor Swift’s love life. We also learnt that not only can lightning strike in the same place twice, it can in fact strike three times, as it did in weeks, 2, 12, and 52, when practically every favourite in the main football leagues won.”
“It was going to take a lot to offset that and whilst we had a positive run in the second half, including a bonanza during the final stages of the World Cup, we didn’t manage to fully overturn a heavy first half deficit. As a result, the Group’s gross win percentage was some 0.3% below our expectations, which had a gross impact of approximately £17.4 million before any customer recycling of winnings and related reductions in cost.”
So where were the turning points for Paddy Power’s fortunes? Here is what the company had to say (emphasis ours):
“Still, you just gotta grin n’ bear it. Some schadenfreude and fun – courtesy of David Moyes’s disastrous record at Man United – helped. We put an encased wax-work of Sir Alex Ferguson outside Old Trafford with the instructions ‘In case of emergency break glass’; positioned a ‘grim reaper’ behind Moyes at Goodison Park (which indeed proved his last match in charge); and, at the home of arch rivals Liverpool, erected a giant bronze statue of Moyes ‘for services rendered’.
“The new season brought new opportunities for engagement with fans. After losing their version of Hannibal Lecter to Barcelona, Liverpool signed up Mario Balotelli. It was a move that must rank up there with ‘Don’t worry, I think we can squeeze by this iceberg without a major incident’, so much so that after Mario swapped his jersey at half-time in a 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid, we felt it only fair to set up a stall at Anfield so supporters could swap their Balotelli shirts.
“In November, we paid out early on Chelsea to win the Premier League. With Jose Mourinho’s men eight points clear, it looked a rock solid move. Two weeks later, with City almost level, it looked like a business decision as wise as HSBC’s Swiss banking forays.”
However, Paddy Power still racked up a record pre-tax profit of £122 million in 2014, which is up 21% from the previous year. Paddy Power will also pay shareholders £285 million.
Investors clearly loved the news. Shares soared around 9.5% in the market open to 72.90p.
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