Sportingbet Said to Plan $206 Million Sale for Centrebet

Sportingbet Plc (SBT) may sell about 125 million pounds ($206 million) of stock to fund a bid for Australian betting company Centrebet International Ltd. (CIL), two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The company may announce the deal May 25 when it reports third-quarter earnings, one of the people said, declining to be identified as the talks are ongoing. The proposed share sale would be equivalent to more than half Sportingbet’s market value of 244 million pounds.

Centrebet rose the most in almost three years in Sydney after it said it received a takeover bid. A deal would expand Sportingbet’s presence in regulated gambling markets, increasing appeal to investors, said Simon Davies, an analyst with Collins Stewart with a “buy” recommendation on Sportingbet.

“It’s a big ask,” Davies said in a telephone interview of the share sale, which he estimated in a note would be for about 120 million pounds. “But strategically, it’s a deal that’s got a lot of potential.”

The acquisition is dependent on Sportingbet raising money through a share sale, the London-based company said in a Regulatory News Service statement today. Sportingbet may offer about A$2 ($2.17) per share, it said, adding there is “no certainty” a transaction would be completed.

Centrebet rose 13 percent to A$1.79 in Sydney trading after the announcement. Sportingbet advanced 2.25 pence, or 4.9 percent, to 48.25 pence at the 4:30 p.m. close in London.

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