Ladbrokes eyes £240m takeover of 888

ladbrokes-888-takeover-bidUK newspaper The Telegraph is reporting that Ladbrokes has made a £240m offer to acquire online betting firm 888. The offer is substantially less than the £470m price that Ladbrokes was offering for 888 back in 2006, when the two companies had a brief flirtation that ultimately came to naught.

The year has not been kind to 888, having announced in October that pre-tax profits had fallen 43%, although the company claims to have arrested the slide in November. This Friday saw its share price bolt upward as takeover rumors involving a different suitor, Caesars Entertainment, made the rounds.

Although Ladbrokes appears keen to buy itself some online relevance (as they seem incapable of developing it in-house), its shareholders may be concerned by 888’s lack of a PartyGaming/Sportingbet type immunity deal with the US Dept. of Justice. Anyway, the situation bears watching, as CEO Richard Glynn seems determined to prove before the year is over that he’s worth that lofty salary the board awarded him when he took over the reins in March.