Last week, Camelot Group announced that it planned to provide mobile top-ups and bill payments through its 28,000 lottery terminals. The company has been up for sale since April last year.
Camelot is jointly owned by five shareholders: Cadbury, De La Rue, Fujitsu Services, Royal Mail and Thales Electronics. Last April, all except Royal Mail appointed investment banks Greenhill and NM Rothschild to sell their stakes in the business.
The deadline for the second round of bidding was this week, with bidders understood to include Sir Richard Branson, the People's Postcode Lottery, French lottery operator Française Des Jeux and private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and BC Partners. Further details are expected next month.
PayPoint, which is the market leader in the e-payment sector with sales of £224m last year, is understood to be angry about Camelot's move. One industry source said the company was preparing to respond to the consultation launched last week by the National Lottery Commission, which is investigating whether the plans could be affected by EU competition laws.
A spokesman for PayPoint confirmed the company was looking at a number of issues raised by the proposals. "We are surprised the National Lottery Commission has chosen to consult only on the narrow issue of competition as the implications of the proposals are wider and reach the heart of the matter and the Commission's primary function which is, what will the effect be on money raised for good causes and the proper operation of the lottery?" he said.
Another source predicted there would be competition issues surrounding the move, but said another player on the e-payment market would be "welcomed" by retailers.