Sportingbet extends deadline for William Hill and GVC bid

The deadline for William Hill and GVC to lodge a formal offer for Sportingbet has been extended until the end of this week, as negotiations continue over a proposed £485m takeover.

Sportingbet announced this morning that the Takeover Panel had consented to its request to extend the deadline for the parties to submit a firm offer from 5pm today until 5pm on Friday 21 December 2012.

The operator agreed to  lower offer from Hill’s for the regulated part of its business on 4 December in the wake of its disappointing Q1s. The price per Sportingbet share was cut from the originally agreed price of 61.1p to 56.1p, valuing Sportingbet at £485m instead of £530m.

The new deal would see senior bid partner Hill’s acquire Sportingbet’s prized Australia division and as-yet-undisclosed parts of the business operating in lower-risk regulated markets, with GVC adding the remaining – mainly – businesses to the Turkish-language Superbahis business it bought from Sportingbet last year.

Spain, where Sportingbet is one of the three market leaders for online sports betting alongside bwin and bet365, seems likely to be among the other locally licensed parts of the London-listed business acquired by William Hill should the deal go through.

Greece now however appears to be among the divisions acquired by GVC, given the Greek government’s current attempts to force through laws reneging on its original commitment to license companies such as Sportingbet who began paying gaming taxes there last year.

Sportingbet’s other local licences are in the small Danish market, under its own brand and Centrebet.

William Hill’s approach for Sportingbet’s regulated business follows a year after bitter rival Ladbrokes’ £460m bid for the whole group foundered upon regulatory concerns over the Superbahis business in Turkey, subsequently carved off and sold to GVC for a minimum consideration of £125m.

Article written by Stephen Carter

Casino Choice journalist

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