A few weeks ago we reported that 888 looked to be on the verge of a merger with the popular UK bookmaker Ladbrokes.
However, according to reports coming out of Israel today, it seems as though Ladbrokes may well be facing competition from the casino giant, Playtech.
The Israeli paper, Calcalist has suggested that Playtech has made an offer worth around $200m for the one-time gambling giant. The offer shows how far the value of 888 has fallen – when they first launched on the London Stock Exchange they were valued at $1 billion – but would still be a good price given that current stock levels value the copmany at around £169m.
Despite the price, there’s a belief that 888 will rebuff this latest offer given that previous offers in the past have been knocked back, including much larger offers than Playtech’s. Indeed, the offer Ladbrokes made last month was believed to have been around £240m
That is unlikely to put Playtech off though as, despite their shrinking presence, 888 is still the largest casino operator in the world.
Their strong presence in the UK market is also a big draw for Playtech, who are looking to grow their presence in Britain further after completing a mega-merger with the UK gambling company William Hill in 2008.
The market has changed rapidly though since the pending merger between PartyGaming and Bwin was announced last year meaning that consolodation is now the name of the game.
888 undoubtedly realise that they don’t have the strength or the power themselves to compete with this new Party/Bwin juggernaught and as such will need to merge with one of the world’s big boys if they’re to continue trading.
Does this mean that they’ll accept Playtech’s offer though? Only time will tell, but you can be sure that when we have more news about this, we’ll be posting it up here as soon as it arrives!
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