Ladbrokes ends 888 bid talks as revenue rises

City A.M. Reporter
Bookmaker Ladbrokes said it had ended talks over a possible takeover of online gaming firm 888 and that first-quarter revenues were up 2.3 per cent.

The company, which had been talks with 888 over a possible takeover, said discussions between the two companies had been terminated.

Earlier this week 888 said talks with Ladbrokes were ongoing and that price was the only sticking point.

888, which on Thursday posted its best quarterly performance since withdrawing from the U.S. market, said it was well-positioned for future growth.

Reuters reported earlier this month that Ladbrokes was weighing up a higher offer for 888 after an initial proposal failed to win the support of 888's founding shareholders, the Shaked and Yitshak families, who control 61 per cent of the stock and hold the key to a deal taking place.

According to Reuters' sources, the founders rejected an approach from Ladbrokes worth 70 pence per share, valuing the business at around 240 million pounds.

Ladbrokes, which runs over 2,700 betting shops, on Friday sales group revenue rose 2.3 percent in the three months to the end of March and operating profit rose 1.9 percent.

The company, which cut its net debt by £48.7m to £443.3m by the end of March, said the outlook was uncertain despite its solid first-quarter performance.