Sportingbet’s rise makes case to William Hill

ONLINE bookie Sportingbet said yesterday it had seen the amount of money wagered via its in-demand Australian operations almost double over the last year.

Sportingbet, the subject of a takeover bid from William Hill, said the amount wagered in the country had risen 82 per cent, largely thanks to last year’s purchase of online rival Centrebet.

William Hill, which had a 52.5p per share bid rejected over the weekend, sees the Australian business as the jewel in Sportingbet’s crown, and will carve up the business with bid partner GVC Holdings if a follow-up offer is successful.

Sources close to the talks yesterday said William Hill had not yet launched a new offer, and that Sportingbet was open to other bids.

The bookie posted a £45.5m loss yesterday, due to a number of exceptional charges including the disposal of its Turkish website. Sales in the year to August fell five per cent to £196m.

“These results reflect why Sportingbet would be a good strategic buy for William Hill,” said Peel Hunt’s Nick Batram.