William Hill Rises as FT Says Rank Group and 888 Submitted Bid

William Hill Plc rose on a report that Rank Group Plc and 888 Holdings Plc submitted a 3.6 billion-pound ($4.7 billion) takeover bid for the U.K. bookmaker.

The offer values William Hill at 364 pence a share and sets out merger synergies that could boost the value of the proposal to 408 pence a share, the Financial Times reported Tuesday, citing two people briefed on the plans it didn’t identify. The shares rose as much as 7.3 percent to 351.4 pence in London, the most since the companies acknowledged in late July that 888 and Rank were considering a bid.

A William Hill spokesperson declined to comment. Representatives for Rank and 888 could not be reached for comment.

A takeover of William Hill would mark a step up in betting industry deals that have included the pending merger of competitors Ladbrokes Plc and Coral. That transaction will create a business that would leapfrog William Hill as Britain’s biggest bookmaker. Oddsmakers are combining as governments ratchet up the tax burden at a time when companies are competing harder than ever for new customers.

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