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Sportingbet chasing Centrebet

News this morning that another company is set to launch a bid for Centrebet, the first Australian bookmaker to bet online back in 1997. It has been mentioned here before that the Kafataris family are keen to cash in, but previous interests from European firms have hit a brick wall - perhaps because of issues with Australian government bans on online poker and casinos. Sportingbet have already conquered those restrictions by having a highly successful Australian operation (after they purchased the previously Vanuatu-based No.1 Betting shop) run independently from the main UK base. Sportingbet CEO Andy McIver has long dismissed poker as a 'fad' so it was hardly a sacrifice on that front. Centrebet run casino and poker operations for anyone based outside of Australia.

Sportingbet in talks to buy Australian peer Centrebet

May 11 (Reuters) - British online gaming firm Sportingbet is in advanced talks to buy Australia's Centrebet International Ltd for about A$175 million ($189.6 million) in cash to further expand its presence in the country.

The offer price at A$2 per share represents a 25 percent premium to Centrebet's Tuesday close.

Sportingbet said it expected the acquisition to add to its earnings in the first full year post integration.

"An acquisition would accelerate Sportingbet's strategy of increasing its exposure to regulated markets and of geographic diversification," Chief Executive Andrew McIver said in a statement.

In February, Sportingbet reported an increase in second-quarter earnings as strong growth in Australia and emerging markets offset weakness in Europe.

Centrebet, which offers up to 6,000 international sports and horse racing markets per week, reported a first-half net profit of A$1.8 million, down 70.6 per cent from last year.

Sportingbet shares were up 3.3 percent at 47.5 pence at 0705 GMT on the London Stock Exchange, while those of Centrebet closed up 12.6 percent at A$1.79 on Wednesday on the Australian Stock Exchange.


The market continues to consolidate while smaller operations are just getting left behind....

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