Sportingbet to Agree Takeover Deal after William Hill Ups Bid

October 16, 2012

William Hill, Britain’s largest bookmaker, have upped their bid for Sportingbet, with the online gaming group likely to agree to a £530 million($851 million) takeover.

If a deal goes through, William Hill, best known for its 2,300 British high street betting shops and which has been expanding overseas, would acquire Sportingbet’s operations in Australia and Spain where gambling is regulated.

GVC Holdings , a junior partner in the deal, will take Sportingbet’s businesses in other parts of the world where regulatory rules are less clearly defined and risks are higher.

The two gambling entities saw their first proposal to take over Sportingbet overwhelmingly rejected by stakeholders, who felt that the £350 million offered significantly undervalued the group.

William Hill, which bought three businesses in the U.S. state of Nevada earlier this year, and GVC have until November 13 to make a formal offer.

The proposal that Sportingbet said on Tuesday it would agree to is a mix of cash and stock that would value its shares at 61.1 pence, up from a 52.5 pence offer rejected two weeks ago.

Australia is the mainstay of Sportingbet’s business. The company is a market leader in Australian telephone and online gaming and the unit accounted for almost 70 of company revenues and almost all of its profit in its last financial year.