William Hill Talks Next Week? (update)

Will 888 and Rank up the ante?

The UK media were in speculative mood over the weekend on the possibilities of William Hill agreeing to talk turkey with potential acquirers 888 Holdings and Rank Group.
Several publications pointed to media comments by executives from the two companies which indicated a determination to press ahead with the bid and if necessary consider offering a higher price.
Will Hill chairman Gareth Davis earlier spurned a 364p-a-share joint offer – a 16 percent premium on the Will Hill share price – dismissing it as "highly opportunistic", too complex, "laughable" and "substantially" undervaluing the business.
"Quite frankly I think shareholders should flog me if I had discussions on the basis of this offer," he told The Sunday Telegraph.
Despite an early display of a willingness to negotiate, 888 boss Itai Freiberger warned that there were limits, telling the newspaper:
"We're not going to pay any price to get it done and at some point we will have to walk away."
Rank CEO Henry Birch agreed, suggesting that there was nothing to stop 888 and Rank merging if a William Hill bid failed again.
Under stock exchange Takeover Panel rules, the suitors have until the end of this week to make a firm offer or walk away, although extensions are possible if an agreement looks possible.
Davis still appears open to some wheeling and dealing, saying that he has not ruled out engaging with Rank and 888, but setting the scene with the comment:
"It would have to take a substantially bigger offer, and a bigger premium, and a bigger pay-off for the William Hill shareholders".
Davis also applied a little pressure by referring to speculation that a rival bid for William Hill may be in the wings from private equity group CVC (owner of SkyBet), and commenting that there could be advantages in striking a deal with an overseas gambling company that would reduce William Hill's reliance on the highly competitive UK market.

Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa

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The man with the plan here at Casinomeister. Bryan Bailey has been running Casinomeister since its launch in June of 1998. He has watched the industry grow from its primeval stage to what it is now. The Meister has attended nearly 100 conferences in the past 20 years and has either been a speaker or a panel moderator for at least 60 events. He has always been an advocate of fairness and reason and is known to like German beer, a good Scotch, and astrophography.

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