William Hill Plc, a U.K. bookmaker with more than 2,000 outlets, said it’s considering a joint offer with GVC Holdings Plc for online gambling company Sportingbet Plc.
Sportingbet soared 17 percent in London trading, giving it a market value of 340 million pounds ($552 million). William Hill would buy the Australian and “certain other” locally licensed businesses and GVC would purchase the rest, William Hill said in a statement today. The two companies “believe that by acting in combination they represent a highly credible possible offeror for the entire Sportingbet business, substantially in cash.”
William Hill and competitors such as Ladbrokes Plc are seeking to expand online trading as more customers use mobile and online devices to place bets and as U.S. states such as Nevada consider legalising online gambling. Last year, Ladbrokes said its talks on a possible offer for Sportingbet were “mutually terminated.”
William Hill fell 1.9 percent to 312.6 pence in London, while GVC rose 13 percent to 196.50 pence.
Data compiled by Bloomberg shows that in 79 deals since 2004 for western European gambling stocks, buyers paid an average premium of almost 19 percent.
William Hill and GVC, an online gambling company based on the Isle of Man, must announce a firm intention to make an offer for Sportingbet, or declare an intention not to do so, by no later than Oct. 16, according to today’s statement.