|Reports are circulating that Ladbrokes’ proposed £490 million takeover of online casino group 888 could be wrapped up as early as next week, following more than a month of talks between the two parties.|
The takeover of 888, which has seen interest from rivals William Hill and PartyGaming, is expected to be pitched at between 140p and 145p a share, netting millions for the two sets of brothers who founded the internet poker and casino group.
Aaron and Avi Shaked and Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak still own about two-thirds of 888, worth over £300m, although it is not known whether they will sell out completely or take a share in Ladbrokes.
The bookmaker signalled its intent to buy 888 following the sector collapse in the wake of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the US, which stalled early takeover talks between 888 and PartyGaming.
The acquisition would further enhance Ladbrokes' online gambling operation, increase liquidity on its poker sites, while providing software capability that it currently out sources, accumulating estimated cost savings of around £30 million.
Rank’s sale of its Hard Rock Cafe chain has also raised speculation that Ladbrokes' boss Chris Bell could turn his attention to the operator of Grosvenor Casinos should the 888 deal go ahead.