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888 Still "Hopeful" About Ladbrokes Merger

Over the past few days, news that the potential sale of 888 to Ladbrokes may have run into trouble prompted a quick reply from 888 CEO Gigi Levy saying he’s “hopeful” the buyout will take place.

“Online gaming firm 888 said it remained hopeful of being taken over by British bookmaker Ladbrokes after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue on Monday, sending its shares higher,” writes Matt Scuffham at Reuters.

Negotiations are still on the table, Levy told Reuters, who also said there “were no major obstacles in the way of a deal”.

Over the weekend, the Daily Mail had reported that merger talks had “hit a stumbling block over the price”.

But “It’s definitely not off the table,” Levy told Reuters. “There is still interest on both sides in doing a deal. Every big deal has complexities, (but) there’s nothing which is a big sticking point. There’s a variety of things (to negotiate) like in any deal. We’re trying to see whether we can tackle them or not.”

Ladbrokes representatives, however, declined to comment on the story.

Shares in 888 were up almost 5 percent on the news; the great business world’s hope is most likely that a newer, bigger 888 and Ladbrokes would be much more competitive in an online gaming world soon to be dominated by a bwin/PartyGaming behemoth.

“Shares in the online gambling site’s owner 888 Holdings have fluctuated in recent weeks over speculation on whether the deal will be agreed,” notes City AM.