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SBD Global/October 2, 2012/Finance

Online Gambling Firm Sportingbet Pressures William Hill To Up Bid

Online gambling firm Sportingbet said a £350M ($565M) offer approach by bookmaker William Hill and GVC Holdings "significantly undervalues" it, according to Rosalba O'Brien of REUTERS. Sportinbet, however, "left the door open for a higher bid." It had received a takeover approach at 52.5 pence per share, consisting of 45 pence in cash from William Hill and 7.5 pence in shares in smaller online betting firm GVC. Sportingbet said, "The board of Sportingbet has responded that this indicative offer significantly undervalues the business and its future prospects." It did not say it was rejecting the offer outright. Analysts "expect the bidders to come back with a higher offer." Analysts from stockbroking and investment banking firm Panmure Gordon said, "We believe Sportingbet is worth over 60 pence per share, excluding any bid speculation, and expect Wednesday's full year results to show the business continues to make strong underlying progress." Sportingbet is forecast to report pre-tax profits of around £30M ($48M) on sales of £200M ($323M) on Wednesday (REUTERS, 10/1).
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