he new CEO of Ladbrokes, Richard Glynn, has held "very preliminary discussions" with 888, which is also thought to have had approaches from other suitors in the gambling sector. "Ladbrokes confirms that it is in very preliminary discussions with 888. There can be no certainty that these discussions will ultimately lead to an offer for 888 being made, nor as to the terms of any such offer," the company said last night.
In entering the talks with 888, Glynn is trying to address the weak online presence of Ladbrokes, which in comparison with its rivals largely operates through high-street shops.
It is a problem that stalked his predecessor, Chris Bell, who attempted to buy 888 in 2006 but was deterred because of legal action taking place in the US under a clampdown on internet gambling. 888 has been the subject of takeover rumours for months after a profits warning in the spring about its online poker business.
If Ladbrokes does proceed with a formal offer it could lift the London stock market, which has been ignited in recent weeks by takeover talks, including the us$ 1.3 billion offer for De La Rue by French rival Oberthur.