Sportingbet owns up to merger talks

City A.M. Reporter
ONLINE bookmaker Sportingbet has confirmed talks with “different parties” following reports the group is considering merging with Swedish rival Unibet.

The companies are understood to have held preliminary discussions about combining to create a £600m group, with further talks expected in coming weeks.

Sportingbet said in response to the weekend speculation that it “has had and will continue to have discussions with different parties in relation to a variety of potential opportunities,” although it did not refer to Unibet specifically.

“There can be no certainty as to whether or not such discussions will result in any form of transaction,” it added in its statement to the stock exchange. Any announcement on a merger is reportedly not expected until next year, with more talks said to be needed before a deal can be sealed. In September, Sportingbet agreed a £22.8m settlement with the US Department of Justice over an investigation into alleged illegal internet gambling, which analysts claimed cleared the way for potential mergers or takeovers.