Ladbrokes in 888 takeover talks

Ladbrokes has confirmed it is in talks that could lead to it buying online rival 888 Holdings.

Ladbrokes' Ian Wright campaign
Ladbrokes’ Ian Wright campaign

Weekend reports suggested Ladbrokes had been considering an offer worth about 70 pence per share, which would value the Gibraltar-based 888 at about £240m.

Ladbrokes says it is in “very preliminary discussions” with 888, adding “there can be no certainty that these discussions will ultimately lead to an offer”.

888 adds that “at this stage there can be no certainty that these discussions will result in a formal offer being made for the company”.

Ladbrokes tried to buy 888 in 2006 but was deterred by a US clampdown on internet betting.

The bookmaker, which has more than 2,200 betting shops, is trying to grow its online operations under the stewardship of recently appointed chief executive Richard Glynn.

It is also trying to bolster brand marketing and loyalty by restructuring its marketing department and appointing former Thomas Cook and Sainsbury’s marketer Stephen Vowles to lead the new team.

888 brands include Pacific Poker, 888bingo and Foxy Bingo.

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