888 Admits it is in Tie-Up Talks

Monday, 30 October 2006

888 Holdings has today confirmed that it has held merger talks with third parties since the US effectively banned internet gambling at the end of September.
The Sunday Times said 888 had held preliminary talks about a possible merger with rival

888 Holdings has today confirmed that it has held merger talks with third parties since the US effectively banned internet gambling at the end of September.
The Sunday Times said 888 had held preliminary talks about a possible merger with rival PartyGaming to create a £1.6 billion group. The newspaper said executives from the two companies expected to hold further talks in the coming weeks.
In a statement 888 said it had held 'various preliminary discussions with third parties following suspension of its US activities,' adding that there was no certainty that the discussions would proceed to an offer being made for the company or any other action.
PartyGaming declined to comment.
With the firms' US fates now decided, analysts said that cost savings achieved through chopping out duplicated operations remained the obvious logic for any takeover or tie-up.
'You've got huge cost savings – they've [888 and PartyGaming] both got offices in Gibraltar, they've both got call centres, they've both got huge technology and marketing expenses and they both use the same auditors, lawyers and that type of stuff,' an analyst who did not wish to be named told Reuters.
Speculation persists on whether traditional bookmakers such as William Hill and Ladbrokes will show any interest in the wake of the US fallout.



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