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Sportingbet shares soar on preliminary takeover approach

Sportingbet shares soar on preliminary takeover approach

Online gaming company Sportingbet PLC said Wednesday it has received a "very preliminary" takeover approach, sparking a 14 percent surge in the company's share price.
Sportingbet did not identify its suitor, or provide any further details, in its brief statement to the London Stock Exchange.
The announcement follows recent speculation that Austria-based online gambling group BWIN Interactive Entertainment AG is interested in buying Sportingbet. BWIN did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Sportingbet shares were trading at 58.75 pence (US$1.13; euro0.86), up 14.6 percent, in midday trade.
Sportingbet revealed last month that it swung to a net loss in the second quarter after the company was forced out of the U.S. by legislation that effectively banned online gaming.
However, it also announced a 54 percent increase in operating profit, driven by its European business as it began to reorganize the business following the U.S. ban. The company was also upbeat about the third-quarter, which "has started well, building on the developments that have been put in place during the second quarter."
There have been moves toward consolidation in the gambling sector since the U.S. Congress surprised the industry last year when it added a provision to a bill aimed at improving port security to make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to settle payments to online gambling sites. U.S. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law Oct. 14.
Ladbrokes PLC, the world's biggest bookmaker, said shortly after the U.S. decision that it was in talks with online gambling group 888 Holdings PLC. Ladbrokes Chairman Ian Robinson said last month that "discussions continue and are complex because of the current conditions in the U.S. We will update the market as and when appropriate."