Ladbrokes in running for 888

Ladbrokes, the UK gaming group, confirmed last night that they are in serious discussions with 888 about buying the online gaming company.

Although 888 have not been hit as hard as many other online gaming operators following the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Bill, 888 are looking to consolidate their position within the market.

PartyGaming were also said to be in the frame, but it is thought that 888 would prefer a deal with a traditional gaming company over another online gaming operator, such as PartyGaming, who have suffered greatly since the new US policy was introduced. PartyGaming have seen their value of shares plummet and have had to make mass cutbacks at their operations in India with more expected in London and their headquarters in Gibraltar.

With the news that Ladbrokes are interested in 888, shares in 888 Holdings rose by 8% to 120p, with the value of the company being estimated at approximately £400 million pounds ($763million). It is expected that a bid of around £470 million would secure a deal for 888.

888 was set up in 1996 by two Israeli brothers, Avi and Ahron Shaked, and if any deal between the two companies was to go ahead, the brothers would become major shareholders in Ladbrokes. Any acquisition made by Ladbrokes would also see a £9 million saving off head office and staff costs.

Ladbrokes, in a statement made last night, remained suitably coy about the speculation.

“The Board of Ladbrokes notes the speculation in the weekend press and the company can confirm that it is in the early stages of reviewing a possible transaction involving 888. No decision has been made as to whether any proposal will be made to 888.”

888 are yet to comment on the news but reiterated that they are still in talks with a number of third parties.

Editor, - 2006-11-06 13:11:14

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