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Countdown on For William Hill’s Sportingbet Bid


11 Oct 2012

The clock is ticking on the potential takeover bid that may still be launched by William Hill and GVC for rival sportsbook brand Sportingbet.

On October 1st, Sportingbet revealed that it had received an initial offer from the two companies of 7.5p per share from GVC combined with 45p per share in cash from William Hill.

However, in a statement made by the company’s board to the stock market, it added that “this indicative offer significantly undervalues the business and its future prospects”.

By announcing the details of the bid, Sportingbet added that it did not have the consent of William Hill or GVC to do so – and that a further, formal offer might never come.

The companies now have until October 16th to announce their firm intention to make a bid, or that they no longer intend to make an offer at all.

But the story has had to compete for column inches in the global gambling press with the potential buyout by William Hill of casino software provider Playtech’s 29% stake in William Hill Online.

At present, the software brand owns almost a third of the betting operator’s online casino, and shareholders have been pressing for news on whether a buyout will take place.

William Hill chief executive Ralph Topping was careful not to give too much away in July’s Interim Results statement, saying simply that the company is “happy with Playtech as a supplier”, but a decision needs to be made by November if a buyout bid is to be made.

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