SHARES in Sportingbet surged seven per cent yesterday after rival GVC Holdings said it is in exclusive talks regarding the possible purchase of Sportingbet’s Turkish business.
Investors hope the sale, which will fetch around £35m, could smooth the way for Ladbrokes to take over Sportingbet.
Ladbrokes made a preliminary offer for Sportingbet in June, but analysts suggested legal restrictions over the Turkish website could hold them back.
Sportingbet said last month it was “reviewing strategic options” in relation to the Turkish website and future prospects with Ladbrokes.
GVC shares have been temporarily suspended, in accordance with AIM rules, as the transaction, if completed, would be considered a reverse takeover.
Espirito Santo analysts said in a note: “In our view, the sale of the Turkish business would support both the valuation and prospects of Sportingbet being bought out by Ladbrokes.”
James Hollins at Evolution said the disposal would be “materially enhance” the likelihood of Ladbrokes taking over the firm.
Sportingbet shares closed at 53.5p, valuing the firm at £330m.