888 share price falls 18 per cent as bid talks with William Hill end

Jessica Morris
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888 and William Hill have taken their chips off of the table (Source: Getty)

Shares in online bookmaker and casino 888 slumped today after it ended talks over a potential £750m takeover with competitor William Hill, as the betting firms came up against "significant" differences regarding value.

"Due to a significant difference of opinion on value with a key stakeholder, it has not been possible to reach agreement on the terms of a possible offer and the board of the company has agreed with William Hill to terminate discussions," 888 said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange today.

Brian Mattingley, chief executive of 888, added: "The company is in good health and continues to trade comfortably in line with expectations."

888's share price fell as much as 18 per cent to 140.75 pence per share at pixel time in London. It had jumped as much as 24 per cent last week, after the companies said they had reached a preliminary agreement of 210 pence per share.

Analysts have predicted a flurry of mergers and acquisitions activity in the UK betting sector, as the new point of consumption tax, introduced towards the end of last year, squeezes the profit margins of smaller firms.

Last year, Bwin.Party's share price soared after it confirmed rumours it was in early stage acquisition talks. The company did not reveal its potential suitors but Playtech and Amaya Gaming Group were rumored to be interested.

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