International edition
June 22, 2021

After posting its best quarterly performance since withdrawing from the US market

888 says talks over takeover by Ladbrokes continue

(UK).- Online gaming firm 888 said talks over a possible takeover by British bookmaker Ladbrokes were continuing after posting its best quarterly performance since withdrawing from the U.S. market.

"

There is a discussion ongoing with Ladbrokes. There's not a lot of disagreement other than one, which is price, and that may close or may not. That depends on buyer and seller," CEO Gigi Levy, who announced his intention to step down earlier this week, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Reuters reported earlier this month that Ladbrokes was weighing up a higher offer for 888 after an initial proposal failed to win the support of 888's founding shareholders, the Shaked and Yitshak families, who control 61 percent of the stock and hold the key to a deal taking place.

According to Reuters' sources, the founders rejected an approach from Ladbrokes worth 70 pence per share, valuing the business at around 240 million pounds (US$ 390 million).

Levy, who will remain on the 888 board, denied that his decision to relinquish the CEO role was down to frustration over the failure so far to agree a deal and said there had been no major disagreements with the founders over strategy.

"There's no connection. There's not a single board I know where everybody sees things the same way but there were no big strategic fights," he said.

888 reported a 9 % rise in total revenue to US$ 75 million in the first quarter boosted by a strong performance from its casino and bingo products and an improved showing in poker where it has revamped its software and introduced video.

The company added that trading at the start of the second quarter had been strong.

"The excellent figures reported today and the ongoing strength in current trading indicates the company is growing and is on the right track towards further success," said Levy.

Shares in 888 were up 0.75 pence to 43.5 pence at 0810 GMT, valuing the business at around 150 million pounds.

"This is a good set of numbers from 888 and trading seems to be stabilizing after a difficult 2010," said Espirito Santo analyst Geetanjali Sharma.

"Unfortunately, over the past months, problems with 888 have moved beyond trading and lack of scale to uncertainty on its strategic direction, balance sheet constraints, M&A talks and now management churns with the departure of the CEO, Sharma added.

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