Sportingbet’shares experienced a steep rise after William Hill and GVC confirmed that they consider submitting a joint offer for the online gambling group.
According to Australian gambling news sources, William Hill’s interest is focused on Sportingbet’s operations in the country. The deal is supposed to be worth over GBP300million. William Hill is supposed to take some other smaller countries besides the Australian business, which are responsible for about 90 percent of Sportingbet’s revenues.
Online operations will focus on sportsbooks, as internet betting in Australia for sporting events is legal throughout the country, but most other forms of online gambling are banned.
The regulation is so strict that Australian gambling laws actually prohibit local online casinos accepting Australian players.
GVC is expected to take on the remaining parts of Sportingbet operating in unlicensed territories. The holding acquired Sportingbet’s Turkish operations in October 2011.
Sportingbet issued a statement noting that its board has not received an official approach yet, and accordingly no action should be taken by any shareholder.
A WH – GVC announcement stated that any possible joint offer would be structured so that WH would be to acquire the Australian and certain other locally licensed businesses, and GVC would acquire Sportingbet’s remaining parts. William Hill and GVC reserve the right to amend the terms and structure of the possible offer in due course.
The announcement goes on saying: “The Boards of William Hill and GVC believe that by acting in combination they represent a highly credible possible offer for the entire Sportingbet business, substantially in cash. No formal approach has been made to the Board of Sportingbet and there can be no certainty that any offer will be forthcoming and nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made.”
The joint WH – GVC statement is considered by many to be a result of Sportingbet’s share price rise, triggered by the rumors of a possible deal.
The stock exchange regulations require William Hill and GVC either to announce a “firm intention” to make an offer for Sportingbet, or to decline making an offer until 16th October 2012.