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William Hill to get extended time in Sportingbet takeover bid

12th November 2012 / lee
William Hill

Betting site William Hill are likely to get more time to mount a proposed bit for online gaming group Sportingbet. The two parties had already come to an agreement which kept the hopes of a deal alive, with William Hill winning provisional backing for the takeover proposal from the board of Sportingbet. With the parties coming to a provisional agreement, it meant that a deadline of November 13th was issued for a formal offer to come in for William Hill for the takeover deal. However, latest developments suggest that Britain’s largest bookmaker will get more time for due diligence, with the deadline being extended by four weeks.

The overseer of mergers, the Takeover Panel in Britain, gives companies four weeks from the time a bid approach has been made, but it came be extended by request of the target company. it is likely that a deal will get done, but some sources are suggesting that the agreed price for a takeover at the provisional stage could rise substantially. The offer at the moment is said to be around £530 million for Sportingbet from William Hill, but some analysts are in the camp that the share price offer may rise when it comes to the final deal.

Sportingbet’s shares were trading at 51p on Monday, with the provisional offer from William at a price of 61.1p per share.

This will be another important expansion move by William Hill who have already broken into Nevada this year, purchasing three businesses there. Sportingbet’s profits lie in Australia, where it is a market leader in telephone and online gaming. 70% of Sportingbet’s revenue in the last financial year came from their Australian base and that is the big prize that William Hill are looking for with the bid. There is also an attraction of Sportingbet’s operation in Spain as well, which finally has had online betting regulations clarified.

William Hill’s bid for Sportingbet comes jointly with partner GVC who will take on all the other aspects of Sportingbet’s business. They will likely deal in the European “grey markets” where online gambling regulations are less well defined and more risky.

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