Ladbrokes plots online revival with acquisition

LADBROKES is in talks with Irish gaming company Betdaq over an acquisition of the online bookie, the company said yesterday.

Negotiations, which have been ongoing for some time, could result in a deal worth roughly £30m within the next few weeks.

Buying Betdaq would bolster Ladbrokes’ online presence, which has failed to keep up with rivals such as William Hill.

The talks follow two failed acquisition attempts to buy Sportingbet and 888 – two other online bookies.

“Ladbrokes enjoys a close commercial cooperation with Betdaq and can confirm discussions regarding a potential future acquisition,” the firm said yesterday. “Negotiations are ongoing though at this stage there is no certainty that an agreement will be reached.”

Online gambling companies such as Betdaq have become hot property in recent months.

William Hill recently reached a £485m agreement to take over Sportingbet. Ladbrokes, though, is in more need than most, having seen repeated delays to a crucial revamp of its own online operation.

Betdaq operates an exchange-based website, in which customers wager against each other, and is owned by Irish billionaire Dermot Desmond.