William Hill buys Stanley Leisure for £504 million
By emily
William Hill has announced a deal to buy Stanley Leisure's betting shops for £504 million.

The deal means that William Hill have dropped plans to return £453 million to shareholders, at the expense of the value of its shares which are currently reported to be down 1.5 percent at 517 pence. Shares in Stanley Leisure, Britain's biggest casino operator, were up 1.9 percent at 532 pence.

'We can return at least 300 million pounds to shareholders and still have an ungeared balance sheet,' said Stanley Finance Director Colin Child, 'We hope to update shareholders shortly after this deal completes in mid-June.'

The deal will effect 624 betting offices in Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Jersey. According to Stanley Chief Executive Bob Wiper, several other companies expressed an interest in Stanley Leisure's betting shops, but were blocked by an exclusivity agreement with William Hill.

'We've put together a very strong deal here,” said Harding, “I think it would be a hell of a big move for anyone to trump it and a hell of a big move for Stanley to walk away from it.'

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