According to a market report

Investors bet on bid talk

United Kingdom
Reading time 1:29 min
(UK).- Takeover talk was on the cards for this week, as investors mulled over whether to take a gamble on the online gaming group after rumours emerged it could be in line for an approach from the US. The company has existed in its current form only since March, when the merger between PartyGaming and Austrian Bwin was completed.

Since then, however, a steady slide – exacerbated by the sharp falls seen across the markets in the past few weeks – has resulted in its share price plummeting by 45 %. The move has prompted chatter that the world's biggest listed online gambling group may become a target, and yesterday vague speculation suggested the casinos group Wynn Resorts, whose chief executive is the Las Vegas billionare Steve Wynn, could be a potential aggressor.

With the gossip claiming a possible bid could reach as high as us$ 280 cents a share, managed to touch 177,9 cents during trading before closing at us$ 174.4 cents, a rise over the session of 2,8 cents.

Not everyone agreed with the chatter, however, with one trader saying acquisitions in the sector were unlikely until there was further clarification over the potential regulation of online gambling in the US.

The recent rumours came after mutterings last week suggested potential aggressors for could come from closer to home, with William Hill – up 3.13 cents to 369 cents – one of the names linked.

Those in the City returning to their desks after the FTSE 100's volatile movements last week would not have been blamed for being somewhat fearful over what the days ahead would hold, yet the top-tier index ended up powering forwards 30.55 points to 5,350.58, its third consecutive session on the rise.

Nonetheless, traders were still cautious. "We are not out of the woods yet," said one, who added that he would feel more confident if the banks managed a sustained rally as well. That was certainly not the case yesterday as – with nerves raised ahead of today's key meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy on the eurozone crisis – the sector was left in the red.

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