William Hill makes approach for 888 Holdings

888 Holdings has confirmed a takeover approach from William Hill.

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

Bookmaker William Hill has made an approach to take over 888 Holdings, the online gambling group has confirmed.

In a statement, 888 announced that William Hill was looking to purchase the company which sparked a surge in its shares. A rise of 20 per cent increased 888's value to around £750 million but The Times, which first reported the bid, said one of 888's major investors was still waiting for a higher offer.

An announcement from 888 said: "The board of the company confirms that it received an approach regarding a possible offer for the Company by William Hill PLC. There can be no certainty, however, that any firm offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any firm offer might be forthcoming."

The online gambling company released the statement on Tuesday (February 10th) after reports emerged that William Hill was planning to offer a package worth 210p a share. The company has been performing reasonably well of late and issued a trading update prior to Christmas which stated that it was confident it would meet full-year expectations.

Previous takeovers

It is not the first time 888 has been the subject of a takeover bid. In 2011, Ladbrokes was in talks with the company to purchase it for £150 million, it was the second time the bookmaker had attempted to buy 888. In 2006, Ladbrokes pulled out of a bid claiming that the acquisition "wasn't in the shareholders' interests".

News of a proposed takeover also boosted the share price at William Hill. The bookmaker saw shares open 1.64 per cent on Wednesday. While there is no guarantee that the deal will go through, investors seem confident that the agreement could create a new dedicated online gambling site.

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