Ladbrokes may pull out of its potential takeover of online bookmaker Sportingbet even if Sportingbet removes a perceived stumbling block to the deal by selling its Turkish business, according to a news report.
The Financial Times cited people with knowledge of the situation as saying Ladbrokes' lawyers remain concerned about the legacy risk of Ladbrokes owning Sportingbet, which receives 22 percent of its net gaming revenues from Turkey. Regulatory concerns surrounding Sportingbet's operations in Turkey, where online gambling is banned, are judged to be a problem, according to the article. If the deal falls through, uit will be Ladbrokes' second major takeover blow this year after it failed to conclude a deal with another online gambling group, 888, earlier in the year. The bookie first made an approach to Sportingbet in June, and under takeover rules has until October 17 to make a firm offer or else walk away. A deal would boost its presence in faster growing areas such as "in-play", or live betting during a sports match, an area where Sportingbet specialises. It is thought that Ladbrokes has been prepared to offer 70p a share or more for Sportingbet, valuing the firm in excess of £460m. With Turkish companies banned from providing online betting since February 2007, Sportingbet’s operations in the country are run from the Channel Islands. Ladbrokes is due to issue a trading update on Thursday.
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