Sportingbet stalked by Russian businessman
By paul
Sportingbet, the UK-listed online betting company, was the subject of takeover speculation last week as rumours swept London’s Stock Exchange that a consortium of Russian investors was looking to build a strategic stake in the company. Reports did not cite any clues as to why Russian investors in particular should be interested in Sportingbet, but the company’s shares indicated the level of interest in the story. Sportingbet shares closed 7.5p up at 80p. In fact, Sportingbet’s shares have climbed from a low in April 2003 of 18p.

Last month, the company posted a 61 per cent increase in third-quarter profits on the back of a 20 per cent increase in turnover. It also indicated a strong performance in the first four weeks of its fourth quarter.

Sportingbet directors seem to be confident, as they are buying up shares. Non-executive Sean O'Connor bought 41,000 shares at 71p. CEO Nigel Payne and chairman Peter Dicks have also bought shares.

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