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Ladbrokes Says Third-Quarter Operating Profit Decreases

Ladbrokes Plc, a U.K. bookmaker, said third-quarter operating profit dropped 2.7 percent as sales declined online and over the counter in shops.

Digital sales in the quarter dropped 0.7 percent, the Harrow, England-based company said in a statement. Group revenue gained 2.5 percent, the company said.

Ladbrokes said over-the-counter and Internet revenue dropped in part because last year’s numbers included gains from soccer’s World Cup, and this year’s results included a run of unfavorable results from its horse racing unit. The over-the-counter betting shop sales also declined in part as the company briefly closed 200 shops during August’s riots.

“It’s a very tough time on the high street, and we are doing better than some,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Glynn said on a conference call with reporters.

Earlier this week, Ladbrokes, founded in 1886, said talks ended over a possible acquisition of Sportingbet Plc. The company is looking to improve its Internet betting operations, where growth lags behind rivals such as Paddy Power Plc.

Ladbrokes gained 2.8 percent to 131.6 pence in London. The shares have increased 6.4 percent so far this year, giving the company a market value of 1.2 billion pounds ($1.9 billion).

Last year’s soccer World Cup added about 3 million pounds to revenue, Glynn said. U.K. retail net revenue gained 2 percent as betting shop machines gained 20 percent while over-the-counter sales dropped 8.3 percent, the company said.

Glynn said Ladbrokes wouldn’t rule out making an acquisition to improve its Internet operations. Earlier this year, Ladbrokes also withdrew from talks with 888 Holdings Plc.

“My job and the board’s job is to review any opportunities we have to accelerate our organic plan,” he said.

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